“ Genre: Crime & Thriller - Thriller / Theatrical Release: 2001 / Director: Chris Nahon / Actors: Jet Li, Bridget Fonda, Tchéky Karyo, Laurence Ashley ... / DVD released 12 August, 2002 at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL, Widescreen „
A Chinese intelligence officer, Liu Jian, is sent to France to work with the French police on a case. However, on arrival, he is betrayed by Inspector Richard, the man in charge of the case, who frames him for a series of murders. Trying to avoid being caught and charged, Liu Jian becomes involved with Jessica, a prostitute, who just happens to have been part of the attempt to frame him. In return for her testimony to his innocence, he agrees to rescue her daughter from Richard's clutches. Can one man fight the French authorities and win? And will he be able to rescue Jessica's daughter at the same time?
Following an appearance in the fourth Lethal Weapon film and the lead role in a lesser known film called Romeo Must Die, this is Jet Li's first real attempt to make his name in the West. However, in Asia, he has long been famous for his martial arts skills - which are not an act - Jet Li (or Li Lian Jie as I know him) was a martial arts champion before he moved into acting. In Kiss of the Dragon, he plays a man who believes that actions speak louder than words - just as well, because his English isn't all that good. As far as character development goes, there is very little; we see his relationship with Jessica blossom, but that is the only time we see him as anything but a one man fighting machine. However, this is an action film and from that point of view, Jet Li delivers time after time. I don't usually enjoy action films, but his skills with his limbs and acupuncture needles are really breath-taking to watch. My only gripe is that, having seen a number of his former films, I know that he is capable of much more acting-wise.
Jessica, played by Bridget Fonda, is another seriously under-developed character. An American in Paris (at least she has an American accent), it is never really explained why she is there or why she was forced to turn to prostitution, although she hints that it is because of an ex-boyfriend, all of which would have made her a much more sympathetic character. I'm not that familiar with Bridget Fonda as an actress, but I got the impression that she could have given much more had she been given the chance.
There are a string of other actors, many of whom don't say a word, but just fight. There are a couple of familiar faces. Burt Kwouk, best known as Cato in the Pink Panther films and Entwistle in Last of the Summer Wine, plays the man who shelters Liu Jian. Then there is John Forgeham (Frank in Footballers' Wives) who plays a thug. Inspector Richard is played by Tcheky Karyo and is one of the few characters who has more than a couple of sentences to say. I wasn't impressed by his acting though. As a police officer gone badly wrong, he is just not that convincing, even for a role in an action film.
As so often happens with action films, the plot is the weakest part. There are lots of opportunities to broaden it and add some depth to the characters, but Li and his co-writers obviously decided that that would be superfluous. Despite this, I still think this film works. Perhaps it is Li's fighting skills, perhaps it is the fact that it is a martial arts film set in France, but having seen the film numerous times, I still enjoy watching it - there is something fresh about it that stops all the fighting becoming boring.
This is a very violent film, hence the 18 rating. The violence starts from more or less the first shot and is relentless. I am not usually a fan of such pointless brutality, yet there is a strange beauty to it that only martial arts films can have. I am not condoning it, but from a visual point of view, it is much pleasanter to watch than films with guns and knives.
I have to admit to being slightly biased when it comes to Jet Li. Having seen a number of his Chinese films, I know that this film is not just a one-off and even that he is capable of much more than he gives in this film. I do prefer his Chinese-language films simply because he talks more and so there is more depth to his characters, but as an attempt to break into the West, I think this is pretty good. Four stars.
The DVD is available from play.com for £5.99.
Running time: 98 minutes
Jet Li stars in this film, playing cop Liu Jiuan who has come to Paris to assist in a major drugs operation. Here he meets Richard (Tchéky Karyo) who turns out to be a corrupt Inspector. He frames Liu for the murder of a Chinese gangster and a prostitute. Fortunately it is not known where he is staying until he comes to the aid of prostitute Jessica (Bridget Fonda) the shop he is staying at ends up a mess after a gruelling fight. 'Uncle' Tai is caught in crossfire when Max (John Forgeham) tries to stop Lie.
Liu angered by the death of the man who took him in finds out that Jessica is working for Richard and was one of the other prostitutes at the hotel the murder commenced, he wants her to stand up for him as a witness - but it's not too straight forward as he has her daughter and she wants her back.
This is a really good film, although the story line is really basic (written by Jet Li himself and the screenplay by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen) the fight scenes are enjoyable and reasonably believable. Part of the reason for this is the fact that Jet Li took fan feedback to what they like and dislike about his films - one thing that was mentioned was wirework so this film had no wires. Another thing I liked was that they managed to have fight scenes that incorporated the fact that the police/gangsters where armed, which rather than having ridiculous bullet dodging scenes they work round it by having Li diving for cover, or using quick reactions to stop the person even pulling a gun out there jacket.
You also have to look at the fact that Corey Yeun was action director on this - a sure sign that an action/martial arts movie is going to have some good choreography.
The scenery in this film is fantastic featuring a fight scene on a boat which although is fantastic in itself also gives the viewer a chance to take in some French scenery.
I also liked the directing on this (by Chris Nahon) I already mentioned the fact the film uses the scenery of Paris to it's advantage but also I felt there where scenes that used the characters faces to it's advantage. Like at the beginning before Liu meets Richard, there's a scene in the bathroom where the men around him are just reacting to him being then and just looking suspicious. There's also a scene at a hospital where Liu is on his own in a waiting room and you hear French in the background with is not even translated for the viewer, which I felt added to the isolation and loneliness that Liu was feeling at the time being in a strange city on the run.
The running time is only 94 minutes (approx) so the film doesn't outstay it's welcome.
The performances overall where pretty good, Jet Li does what he does best, the good guy who saves the day and who could have a potential love interest but is too much of a good guy to even try it on. The only time I didn't like something he did was a scene where Jessica's pimp is beating her around and Liu says "Don't do that" which sounds quite cheesy, I don't know if it was supposed to sound serious or intimidating but either way it gave a bit of a chuckle from me.
Bridget Fonda is interesting in her role as a prostitute who has kicked the drugs, she struggles to get her life back in order and wants to be with her daughter which makes you feel very sorry for her, especially just to see her get beaten down and then injected with heroin to put her back in her place, making you want to see the bad guys get what's coming to them.
Tchéky Karyo plays the evil corrupt Frenchman to perfection, he's so aggressive, intimidating and used to getting away with the stuff he does that you can't wait to see him punished right at the end.
The film sets a bad image for the French police force as it's suggested that a good number are corrupt, they also tend to shoot before thinking, taking out many innocent bystanders along the way!
With the fast paced action and back basic fight scenes, this is a must for any action or martial arts movie junkie.
The Extras on the film are as follows:
Audio Commentary with Chris Nahon, Jet Li and Bridget Fonda
Corey Yeun Action Academy featurette
The Jet Li technique/fight philosophy
Storyboard Sequence: The Orphanage
Police Gymnasium Sequence: Martial Arts Demo
"The Laundry Chute" - Multi-angle sequence
On the Set action
Making of Featurette
6 TV Spots
Language: Some very strong
Other: Drug Use
Dual Layer Single Disc (Region 2)
Languages: English and English Subtitles for the hard of hearing.
Time for another Jet Li review. The Kiss of the Dragon, in my opinion, is one of Jet Li's best western films. The main reason for this is that its narrative is strong when compared to other fairly sorry attempts such as 'The One'. In fact, even as an action film, the plot is high above many others in the genre.
It revolves around the main protagonist, Liu Jian (Jet LI) who has been assigned by the chinese police to cooperate with a sting operation in Paris, assisting the French. A wanted chinese drug lord has crossed into France and in the spirit of friendship, the french police accept the offer of help. The head of the french unit, Richard (Tchéky Karyo)is apprehensive to accept Liu as he regards it as an insult to his capability as an officer. After a tense filled build up, the sting takes an unexpected turn for the worse and Liu Jian realises that he is in grave danger. From this moment on, he has to cope as best he can in a foreign country and deal with foreign emotions. As usual, I won't give away any more of the plot as I don't want to spoil the rest for the viewer.
All of the acting, including Jet Li's is believable and Tchéky Karyo is extremely convincing as Richard. Throughout the film, many of the characters that are not even developed in a major way will have an impact on you. Look out for an airline pilot (Paul Barrett) near the beginning of the film to understand what I mean. The fact that even the smaller characters have an impact serves to create a believable environment and at no point do we question the actions of the main protagonists as they are all completely in character throughout the story. I think that the fact that Jet Li came up with the original story and Luc Besson wrote the screenplay has a massive impact - Jet's vision and dedication comes through in spades during the film. We care about the characters and therefore are worried when they are in trouble.
If the story or character expansion wasn't there, the action sequences would be good, but would have no heart or purpose. The emotional attachment makes them all the more enjoyable.
Cory Yuen, a martial art choreographer that has worked on a great deal of Li's films, is brilliant and inventive as usual. Clever use of objects and some very tense and gritty fights. Chris Nahon, who had previously not done a great deal besides commercials in France, is a solid director with a definite flair well suited to the thriller/action genre in my opinion. The choice of music are some standout hip hop songs that work well as the hip hop scene is massive in Paris and reflects well on the film. Don't worry though, there are no rappers in the film!
As a sidenote, this film remains one of my favourites. It may be because I am a big fan of martial arts and Jet Li or that I can recognise the areas and locations in which the film is set, having lived there for 6 months. Despite this, as an action film, it really is well above average and as a western martial art film, certainly near the top. Even though this is the review for the VHS version, the DVD has lots of great extras and the commentary of Jet Li, Chris Nahon and Bridget Fonda is extremely informative and fun. I recommend this film highly to both action fans and to people who may be interested in Jet Li or martial arts. I really hope you get the same amount of enjoyment that I have from it.
We were bored on Saturday night and so decided to order Kiss of the Dragon from Sky box office. It wasn?t my number one choice but my brother was adamant that this should be the film we should order and since he was paying why not?.. Anyway Kiss of the Dragon is a martial arts film starring Jet Li. You may remember him from another martial arts film ?Romeo must Die? which was out a year or so ago. Well, he plays a lead role in this film along with Bridget Fonda who plays Jessica. She?s a prostitute who?s got caught in the wrong crowd. Her daughter has been kidnapped and she is being manipulated to continue being a prostitute in order to make money for her bosses. It?s set in Paris, with Jet Li as a undercover agent who is on a job but he gets framed by the local police for a murder and in particular by a police officer called Richard (Tcheky Karyo). In the film we see a lot of martial arts with some really good scenes with them Jet Li showing some excellent moves in many ways reminiscent of the great master Bruce Lee. The story line is quite weak, the thread is simple and there?s very few twists or turns throughout the film which is quite disappointing. You are not taken on any amazing roller coaster ride and apart from the brilliant action displayed by Li the film is disappointing. At times, it does become a bit unrealistic when Li beats 30 black belt karate men within a few minutes. Through an amazing coincidence, Li and Jessica are brought together she helps him to prove his innocence and in return he keeps his promise to re-unite her with her daughter. Another explosive action scene sees Li brilliantly defeat the entire police force which leads to the final scene with Richard. Where he gives him the Kiss of the Dragon. Now this scene is a bit bloody and even disturbing especially when blood starts pouring from Richard?s eyes and nose as he starts to die very slowly and from the looks of it very painfully. By,
this point I was looking away however my brother wasn?t. So be warned if you are faint hearted you may have to cover your eyes. This is a good action film, there are some clever stunts involved but most of the good stuff in the film is Jet Li showing off his martial arts skills. Like ?Romeo Must Die? the story line is not memorable and the acting is far from brilliant. However, I did like the martial arts twins scene, they are blonde twins and are excellent at martial arts-they have blonde hair and are very built. The way Jet Li dispatches of them is excellent. Bridget Fonda is good throughout the film and if you are looking for a plus point in the film, it is the way the relationship between Li and Jessica develops throughout the film. It?s kind of sweet the way he keeps his promise to bring her daughter to her. The film is certificate 18 and lasts one hour 37 minutes. It?s a good film but not one of the best. I would give it 6 out of 10. Apart from the martial arts scenes the film won?t last long in the memory which is a shame because it had good potential. Overall verdict is good action film but poor storyline and average acting.
~ ~ My local video shop (Xtravision) has a special offer on at the moment. Any two new releases (VHS or DVD) at only €8 for two night’s rental. Applies to games as well, but as I’m not much of a games fan these days, that’s not too much benefit to me. Anyhoo. It means that the old movies have been getting a right hammering from the ‘mad cabbie’ of late. Last night I watched a martial arts movie called “Kiss of the Dragon” (2001) starring Jet Li, a would be successor to the martial arts Crown held for so long by the late Bruce Lee, and co-starring Bridget Fonda as Jessica, a forlorn American hooker working the streets of Paris. ~ ~ The only other movie that I can recall seeing Jet Li in was Lethal Weapon 4, with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, where he plays a Chinese bad guy called Wah Sing Ku who is importing heroin into the USA. (Of course, he gets his ass kicked by Mr. Gibson in this one) He seemingly made another movie recently called ‘Romeo Must Die’, that doesn’t seem to have been as popular as this movie, but which I haven’t seen yet. (so no comment) In this film he plays the good guy, in the shape of a Chinese detective Liu Jian from the People’s Republic of China, who is sent over to Paris to help out the local fuzz in their battle against the Chinese Mafia. But it all goes horribly wrong, when he is framed for the killing of the Chinese Mafia boss by Inspector Richard, (Tcheky Karyo) who just happens to be the French connection (no pun intended) for the Asian drug ring. This scene sets up the real first action sequence of the movie, when the Chinese drug lord is stabbed to death by a prostitute under the control of Inspector Richard, (prostitution is yet another of his criminal enterprises) and Liu Jian tries to go to his aid. He barely escapes with his life, but not before he quickly and efficiently despatches a plethora of bad guys, and nicks a v
ideotape of the actual murder of the Mafia boss by the prostitute and Inspector Richard. He thus finds himself on the run in a strange city, with no friends, and the totally psychopathic French Inspector hot on his trail. By the way, I thought a nice touch was having Jet Li hiding out at a local Chinese bakery run by an old guy called Uncle Tai (Burt Kwouk) who played the enigmatic manservant Cato in the Pink Panther films starring Peter Sellers in the 1960’s. He later befriends another of the other prostitutes who witnessed the killing at the hotel, and who can give him the skinny on the wicked Inspector Richard. Jessica, (Bridget Fonda) is an American who has fallen into the clutches of the evil and sadistic Inspector, who has put her out to work on the streets, after first ensuring her continued compliance by getting her hooked on heroin, and by kidnapping her young daughter and putting her into a local orphanage. Liu Jian enlists her aid, but not until she elicits a promise from him to rescue her young daughter from the clutches of the bad guys. ~ ~ From the first action sequence to the end of the movie, the action in this film is practically non-stop. It was co-written by Luc Besson and directed by Chris Nahon. Luc Besson is better known for his direction of blockbuster hits like Leon and Nikita, and he also directed another couple of French movies, Taxi and Taxi 2, that I watched recently and thoroughly enjoyed. He didn’t disappoint me in this movie either. The fight scenes are visually spectacular, and I would put them on at least a par with anything I have ever watched from the likes of the late Bruce Lee, or the new Hollywood pretender to the martial arts throne Jackie Chan. (Rush Hour) There are no hidden wires or trick photography here, (at least, none that I could spot) and the final scenes where Jet Li confronts the corrupt French policeman by breaking into the local cop shop, despatching along th
e way a formidable set of young blonde twins, (played by Cyril Raffaelli and Didier Azoulay) are among the best martial art sequences I have ever seen. The budding relationship between Jet Li and Briget Fonda is sensitively handled, and the director doesn’t use the usual ploy of having the hero bed the lady at the earliest possible opportunity, in the hope of titillating his audience. Instead, he develops an emotional attachment between the two, which is far more effective. ~ ~ All is not roses in the camp however, and one strong criticism I would have of the movie would be the totally over the top acting on the part of Tcheky Karyo, who plays the bad cop. It is so bad that at times I was in danger of laughing instead of taking him seriously. And Jet Li wouldn’t seem to have quite mastered all the intricacies of the English language as of yet, but I would say he is a fast study, and this will improve the more parts he plays. And he has a smouldering and menacing look about him that really grabs you by the short and curlies right from the off. It’s very hard to believe that this guy is nearly forty years of age, such is his agility and fitness level. Jackie Chan look out. There’s a new challenger for your title of martial arts King on the block! The storyline is simplistic to say the least, with only a bare minimum of (very corny) plot being thrown in to provide the necessary vehicle to highlight the awesome martial art expertise of Jet Li.! But what it lacks in the storyline department, it more than makes up for in non-stop visual action. Incidentally, the ‘Kiss of the Dragon’, which gives the film its title, is a very real and jealously guarded acupuncture technique that is used either to put a person to sleep, or to actually kill them. (it’s not called this in real life though) Jet Li, a former martial arts champion from a very early age, uses it to great effect throughout the movie, but to te
ll you any more would be too much of a spoiler. ~ ~ But be warned. This film is not for the squeamish, or those with a weak disposition. The violence appears very real, and is VERY graphic, with people being blown in half, bleeding real blood (or as near as it gets) when they are shot, stabbed, or kicked to death, and even on one occasion being skewered with a handy pair of chop sticks. I watched this on widescreen DVD, but to be honest, apart from the usual perfect sound and graphics, there are no real extras worth the mention, with only the usual fare of chapter selection, and the choice of subtitles for the hard of hearing. If you are a fan of the action movie genre, and more particularly the martial arts, then I guarantee that you will thoroughly enjoy this movie. If these are not your bag, then avoid this movie like the plague. ~~~~~~~~~~~~
Chow Yun Fat, Jackie Chan, Stephen Chow, Donnie Yen, Bruce Lee. All names instantly associated with asian cinema. Add to that list one Jet Li, a small perfectly formed man who just happens to be capable of kicking your ass very quickly and efficiently. Li decided to enter the american market with an appearance in Lethal Weapon 4, not the most ideal of introductions but hey it's a start. Next was a starring role in the film Romeo Must Die, an action film with some good action but a story that really didn't make much sense when all was said and done. Now comes Kiss of the Dragon. All the elements are here for a good time. You have a script collaborated on by one Luc Besson, you have Li in Paris and you have the female element taken care of by the always dependable Bridget Finda. You also have a villain who is actually not the slightest bit a pussy. "SO UTERO, WHAT'S IT ABOUT?" Well Li plays a Chinese intelligence officer Liu who goes to Paris to assist on an assignement to capture a renowed drug baron. However he soon gets embroiled in corruption and deception. Soon he's a wanted man, framed for murder by a snarling and vicious police detective named Richard (Tcheky Karyo). Whilst in hiding he gets entagled with a helpless prostitute Jessica (Fonda) who has a connection to Richard. "IS THAT IT?" Yes I'm afraid so, those looking for a deep and meaningful plot should look elsewhere. Kiss of the Dragon has it's eyes set firmly on the action. "SO WHAT KICKS ASS?" Well the action certainly does rock and there's a great deal. Guns are fired in great amount and there's some brilliantly coreogrpahed action scenes where bad guys get taken on and fried with red hot irons to the face while some even meet the nastiest of ends. It teaches you that grenades really shouldn't be messed with and where there's a snooker table there's a way.
I found myself heavily getting into the action from the outset. At times it was so brutal that I actually found myself lauging and recoiling at the sheer brutality on show. Li himself is a more hardcore version of what we've seen from Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour movies. That's slapstick vilence, this is more real. What I also liked about the film is the fact that it was pretty hard ass. The villain Richard is someone who's completely off his head. Anyone who even questions his orders doesn't get a second chance. Karyo has played this kind of character before in Bad Boys and I never once found him to be over the top. His menace is real and that makes his come-uppance much more satisfying as a result. Fonda as well is always enjoyable and dressed as a hooker throughout the movie...well what's not to like? "YEAH BUT WHAY THE THREE STAR RATING?" Well you see this is a film with no real substance and a plot that purely serves as a structure for action scenes. The rest of it is completely unbelieveable. You see at times things happen that you would imagine would cause great concern for the law enforcement in Paris. Yet there seems to be no one who's bothered. It's as if Richard is the chief of the police in Paris and no one could care less that someone was being brutally beaten in front of a packed restaurant. Also you never really understand what the purpose of Li's visit to Paris is. You only understand once you've read the plot synopsis. It's a real case of good action but zero story whatsoever. Some film's fail to disguise this fact but Dragon has enough enjoyment to cover up the cracks. "SO WOULD I LIKE IT?" Well if you like your action mindless and your films the kind that requite no thought then you'll love it. In fact I forgave all the shortcomings as there's something about the sheer honesty of the brutality on show that really appealed
to me. However with more of a story this could have been something special. Maybe it was at one point. It certainly feels that some of the character moments were left on the cutting room floor. Still at under 100 minutes you could do a lot worse.
Jet Li once again puts his limited acting ability and awesome martial arts ability to use in another blockbuster movie. Li is a special chinese cop who is sent to paris to aid the French in the arrest of a chinese gangster. When it inevitably goes pear shaped, Li is left alone in the city and has to fight to clear his name and to get home. Along the way Li picks Bridget Fonda, a call girl who is tied in with the whole mess. The film has some spectacular fight scenes but sadly they fail to live up to the awesome scenes in Romeo Must Die and the more recent Rush Hour 2. Some gory deaths however, more than make up for the lack of acting ability, 1 guy gets split in half by a grenade, a truly horrific sight, another recieves a chop stick shot to the throat, and 1 succumbs to the little known move, Kiss Of The Dragon. I won't spoil that one because it is great cinema!!! Considering the film is based largely on a story that Li wrote himself it is good, the storyline isn't bad and more importantly is easy to follow so you can concentrate on the more important aspects f people getting slaughtered in awesome fashion. In the main all the actors do a fair job, although better people could have been chosen i think. For Li though i think this film is a major stepping stone for the future of his career, from his humble hollywood debut in Lethal Weapon 4 his acting has improved greatly and will hopeflly continue to do so as he is an awesome fighter.
This is an action packed almost Bruce lee style thriller, with a centre on corruption at government level. Powerful barons, pimps and drugs set in the seedy underworld of Paris (which makes a change from the backdrop of America), make up a surprisingly complicated but realistic theme, even despite the showcase agent fighting sequences! It sure is a hard and evil world portrayed here by the brutal ruling stronghold of police chief mafia's and the ring cocktail of narcotics, prostitution, vice and sheer dog eat dog murder! Forget all that though. Sit back and enjoy the sheer feel of vengeance as our hero (Liu Jian, who plays a Criminal intelligence officer- a martial arts and acupuncture expert) slowly goes to work on a deadly conspiracy and no win scenario. This is a well cast and appropriately riveting and bloody piece of work that has a real sting in its tail. It's thoroughly enjoyable and without doubt, as good as (but very different to) a Bond movie. The lack of a sense of humour is the only thing you could possibly fault this film on. It's lightning-paced too. The exhilarating fight sequences feature Li using props a la Jackie Chan style. But to compensate for this pace an interesting relationship forms when Bridget Fonda enters the picture. The chemistry that clicks between her and Li is strong, and even sometimes sweet and touching. The action scenes are supremely exciting and very impressive. First of all, there seems to be no wirework, or at least none that I noticed, so there?s a feeling of authenticity in all the fight scenes. The action is very bloody and graphically violent. Some may see this as a flaw in the film by some of its settings. Those who think present-day Paris is nothing but a beautiful and romantic City obviously haven't seen it's underworld, and the grungy and seedy side of society in the city, (looks like the Rue St. Denis to me). Fonda is good, and so is
Li, who acts well. The quiet intensity he displays possibly says more than any dialogue that might spew out from say, Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme, perhaps, but I would have liked a bit of philosophical content too. Tcheky Karyo is disgustingly vile in his role, (just as any villain always is, of course). The actual Kiss of the Dragon the movie's title refers to be a form of Chinese acupuncture, a method that Li uses in the film that can put people to sleep or give a very bloody death. This film?s all about action and I'm certainly not complaining when it comes to that. A must see!
Few Hollywood action films seem complete without a scene in which some martial arts supremo leaps into the air, turns somersaults, kills forty seven people, mixes a Harvey Wallbanger and solves a particularly difficult Rubik’s Cube, all in mid-air, before finally landing on both feet, and then shooting someone. I blame ‘The Matrix’, although producers of subsequent movies seem not to have understood that the amazing feats of flying seen in that film were dramatically possible because the protagonists were effectively superheroes. ‘Crouching Tiger’ works in a similar way, taking place in a world where magical powers are commonplace. One of the worst offenders, HK superstar Jet Li, has clearly learned his lesson from the wire-filled ‘Romeo Must Die’, given that he and others were seen to be zipping around the skies like birds. ‘Kiss of the Dragon’ is a lot more straight, reminiscent of old fashioned kung-fu movies, where the asexual hero gets by with about three lines of dialogue, the action is never far from a restaurant kitchen or a laundry, and every blow sounds as if it is being landed by a sledgehammer. What’s it about? Jet Li is credited with the story, but given that the plot is so thin, one can only imagine his contribution was ‘I go to Paris and kick people in the face’. Given that the film has a structure of outrageous massacre, quiet fumbling dialogue scene, outrageous massacre, quiet fumbling dialogue scene etc. etc., the idea of a plot seems slightly redundant. There are fragments - Jet is framed for the murder of a Chinese dealer by corrupt Parisian cops, and they chase him around a lot while he makes friends with a hooker (Bridget Fonda), entirely failing to realise that she is The Key To The Whole Thing. In every scene, the cops are zipping around Paris machine gunning extras (and each other) while our hero seems to have been coated in Kevlar. Gene
rally people get shot in the movie when they annoy the villain Tcheky Karyo (if I was one of his henchmen, I’d rapidly ask for a transfer, given that he shoots one and blows another in half in the same scene), or when Jet Li cleverly makes them shoot each other. These devices become pretty tiresome after a while, and strain plausibility, because unless I am very much mistaken, Parisian coppers, even vile corrupt ones, do not have carte blanche to go machine-gunning pedestrians in their search for a man they've framed in the first place. It’s a shame that the film plunges headlong into implausibility so often, because the core of the movie’s appeal goes back to that revolt against the Wire virus. When all the silliness is stripped away, this is probably the most impressive English Language martial arts movie since the early seventies. Li is like a hurricane, balletic, vicious but curiously non-macho (he is almost crippled with shyness when faced with a offer of sex from Fonda), and his fight scenes are incredible. One scene, where having escaped a fireball in a laundry room Jet faces his enemies with a set of irons (plugged in, naturally) is intensely violent and yet curiously exhilarating. This film is bloody, brutal and stupid, but by God, it’s rarely dull for long. The casting of Bridget Fonda is wise - her part is rubbish, but she gives her thin dialogue a sharp sarcastic twang, and she towers over Li, a fact which the director seems to play on quite happily. She is destined to be shuffled aside from the insanely violent climax, but nevertheless, is still a very appealling presence. Li is an odd action star, his English produced with seemingly great effort, but he looks the part, wiry, fast, determined, and he carries with him an engagingly innocent air. Compared to the fetishistically muscular antics of Jean-Claude Van Damme and co, this canny little demon is far more compelling to watch. All in all, this is
not classic stuff, even for the genre - it makes no sense and falters at the end (the best action is in the first half-hour), but once sucked in, you can’t stop watching it.
After the lack of action movies at the box office I was looking forward to this action thriller by action legend Jet Li. I have seen many of his previous movies so I knew what to expect with his latest effort. Kiss of The Dragon is set in Paris and Jet Li plays Chinese cop, Liu Jian who has been assigned to look help French police with the arrest of a chinese criminal. Upon his arrival Liu realises that police officers in France are not as honest as they should be. Liu takes an instance dislike to Inspector Richard. The surveillance of the chinese criminal takes an interesting twist and Liu turns into the prime suspect for the murder of the chinese criminal. On the run in Paris Liu doesn't know who he can turn to. Everywhere he goes he seems to be in trouble and chased by the corrupt Inspector Richard. On his travels he meets a prostitute(Bridget Fonda) who has to work on the streets so that she can get her daughter back. The two troubled characters bond and help each other. Before seeing Kiss of The Dragon I had read lots of reviews from America. Most of them were complimentary but most of them said that the violence in the film was a little over the top. To be honest there is a lot of graphic violence in the film but not more than your average action movie. The end scene is a little gross but apart from that I thought it was ok. Well with a Jet Li film you are guaranteed lots of action and Kiss of the Dragon is no different. The opening scenes is amazing and is matched by the final twenty minutes. Fans of Romeo Must Die (another Jet Li movie) will have seen glimpses of what Li can do. Kiss of the Dragon takes the action another level higher and must be seen. If you are after an alternative to all the comedies and romantic films currently playing at your local cinema then Kiss of the Dragon is the film for you. It has great action scenes and a good storyline.
The skill with martial arts films is to make the action believable without sacrificing any of the fantasy. Kiss of the Dragon (15) opts to leave any realism behind and goes instead for a relentless series of action set pieces that involve its star, Jet Li, taking on just about every villain in Europe for no particular reason. In fact, reason has very little to do with the plot or characters in this action adventure, written by Li and legendary French director, Luc Besson and directed by first time director Chris Nahon. Li plays a top Chinese secret agent sent to Paris to help nab a spy. He is assigned to work with shifty-looking cop Tcheky Karyo who is so obviously crooked he might just as well be wearing a top hate, cape and moustache and cackle maniacally to the camera. When an encounter with the suspected spy ends with him dying horribly, Kayro frames Li for his murder as well as pinning the blame for all his other evil deeds on him and then enlists the help of a seemingly endless army of hoodlums to bump him off. This is the cue for the long series of spectacular fights that look like a Best Of Bruce Lee compilation. Not that any of this looks dull or repetitive. The action sequences are fresh and inventive and with Li, the star of two dozen Chinese martial arts blockbusters, energetic at the centre of it all the pace never lets up. Unlike Jackie Chan, Li is not one for humour. He goes about his grim task of beating every villain in Paris to a pulp with a joyless sense of duty, much like an overworked abattoir worker catching up at the end of a busy week. Bridget Fonda hardly lightens the proceedings either. She plays a former heroin-addicted mother who has been enslaved into prostitution by Karyo. She agrees to help Li clear his name though what earthly use a broken down call girl who looks like she has been sparring with Mike Tyson could be in such a situation is never really clear. But Li hasn't got much option. Tra
pped in a strange country with no friends or colleagues and facing a murder charge, Fonda is the best hope he has - which shows how much trouble he is in. As far as the plot goes, there is not much else to tell. For anyone who likes their martial arts fast and furious this will be enormously satisfying, particularly because there are no distractions, like a storyline or character development, to get in the way. In short this is like a Claude Can Damme film, but with less subtlety.
When a movie is somewhat lacking in plot I am usually the first to complain. Sometimes however, its good to just sit back and watch bad guys get the hell beaten out of them by a superhero action figure. Action for action's sake is not necessarily a bad thing, its just rather difficult to pull off effectively enough to please your audience who has seen most of it before, usually done bigger or better. Kiss of the Dragon doesn't exactly add much originality to things, martial arts movies are pretty much a much of a muchness, but it does it with such flair, adrenaline and charisma that you can't help but be swept along by it all. Kiss of the Dragon stars martial arts sensation Jet Li, a guy who you ought to have heard of by now and if not, then this is a movie to check out to see why I think he's worth making a fuss over. Whereas someone like Jackie Chan plays his martial arts persona for as much comedic effect as anything else, Li plays his perfectly straight and to be perfectly honest...he is simply awesome to watch in action. Kiss of the Dragon features some of the most stunning fight scenes I have seen for a long time(ever?) in a movie and better still - NO MATRIX STYLE TRICKERY!!! Yes thats right, the stunts are real...well ok, with a little bit of camera trickery of course. Li is a Beijing cop, who finds himself in France investigating a case but finds that the law enforcement agency is filled with crooked cops. He is framed by a high ranking officer, but also manages to acquire the idnetity of the real killer on videotape which if he manages to present it to the authorities on time will clear his name. The problem is that the whole Parisien police force is out to take him out before he can manage this and his only hope seems to come from a junkie prostitute (Bridget Fonda) who can bring his persecutor down, but who also refuses to help until he manages to get her daughter out of his clutches. In other words the entire
movie is one long chase. But a great, action packed, adrenaline fuelled chase at that and one which I would highly recommend. Li manages to instill some character into his part which is more than can be said of many of his martial arts counterparts(Jackie Chan aside, but he is a whole different prospect)...Chuck Norris, Steven Segal, Jean Claude Van Damne...need I say more. He also manages to exude a fair amount of charisma as well and he has a certain on screen presence which draws you to him. Kiss of the Dragon succeeds in keeping you amused from start to finish by not trying to hide its faults under flashy, expensive special effects, or ludicrous plot contrivances but going straight for the jugular with its action scenes instead. Its fast, its furious, it is quite ludicrous at times but ultimately very satisfying for a little no-brainer action packed fun. Its a definite recommendation for a Friday evening viewing experience.
After being evoked as either a fairy-tale dreamland as in “Amelie” or as a sepia tinted memory as in “Moulin Rouge”, Paris gets done the dirties on by “Kiss of the Dragon”, which is, in a metaphorical sense, a turd floating down the Seine. This Paris is full of corrupt cops wandering the streets firing Uzi’s, the same streets team with prostitutes under the control of the cops and everybody dies horribly. The movie stars martial arts sensation Jet Li, here playing a Chinese cop, Liu Jian who arrives in Paris at the request of the French police to assist with the surveillance of a Chinese mafia king. Under the supervision of Inspector Richard, a cop that we and Liu know to be very bad, the case goes horribly wrong, the mafia boss ends up dead and Richard pins the blame for the whole thing on Liu. Luckily for Liu he has been able to recover a videotape of the whole incident which shows the real killer and which he can use to clear his name, if only he can stay alive long enough to deliver the evidence. Pursued by those who wish to kill him, Liu finds circumstances going against him until he enlists the help of an ex-junkie prostitute, Jessica (Bridget Fonda), who just happens to have access to the real killer of the mafia boss. However she only offers her help if Liu will help her with a problem of her own… Ah but who cares about the plot, certainly not the script-writers (co-written by Luc Besson, strangely enough). The story is very confused, I couldn’t quite figure of out was happening and why at first, and by the end of the movie I was still none the wiser. I am convinced the whole thing was written in 5 minutes. The issues surrounding Bridget Fonda’s character where a clumsy and unnecessary attempt to inject a bit of sentimentality into the movie. No, the reason for going to see this movie is the action and, boy, there is tons of it and it is fantas
tic. This is the first time I have seen Jet Li in a movie and he blew me away, the guys skills at martial arts are stunning. There is no “Matrix” style wirework, watch you see is what you get (altho there may be some clever editing involved). There are three prolonged major set pieces, which are just about the best fight scenes I’ve seen in any movie. They are very dynamic, loads of thrills and although brutally violent and bloody, they also manage a little bit of wit and humour. And whilst we are on the subject of violence, a word of warning ( or recommendation, whatever cooks your goose), this movie is unremittingly violent and the violence is bloody in the extreme. People are kung-fu’d to death in a variety of manners, bones are snapped, bodies are riddled with bullets, hand grenades are used to separate torsos from lower limbs, and you do not want to know what Jet Li can do with a pair of chopsticks. As I’ve mentioned already the rest of the movie was just padding and added nothing to it, so if you don’t like violent actions movies avoid. Avoid would have been a good bit of advice for Bridget Fonda as she is completely wasted here. Her part is criminally under written and she looks completely lost for the most part. I guess she needed the cash, or else felt she was due a favour to Luc Besson after her abysmal re-make of his “Nikita”. For the action 5 stars, for the attempt at a plot 1 star, making 3 stars overall as I really enjoyed it. Oh and you do get to find out what “The Kiss of the Dragon” is and I can assure you it is not very pleasant at all. The movie has an “18” certificate. Loads and loads of bloody ultra-violence, strong language, scenes of a sexual nature, drug references. On general release from 9 November 2001.
In Kiss of the Dragon, Chinese undercover agent Jet Li chops his way through Paris after he's framed in some sketchily defined drug sting operation. The fight sequences are tough and quite brutal, and the over-the-top finale is arguably worth the price of admission, wherein an implacable Li takes on the entire Paris Police Bureau, working his way up toward police chief Tchéky Karyo's office through cops, a pair of peroxide-blond twin henchmen, and a whole class of kung fu cadets. Coscreenwriter Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita) should know by now what makes for a nifty genre piece, but the woeful dialogue is a shame, and there aren't nearly enough action sequences to get your blood boiling. Poor Bridget Fonda gives it the old-school try in a thankless role as an ex-junkie prostitute from the Midwest whose young daughter is being held captive by duplicitous police chief/drug lord/pimp Karyo (who fairly inhales the scenery). Director Chris Nolan might have pushed further the strangers-in-a-strange-land camaraderie between Li and Fonda, but the script still would've sunk him. --Steve Wiecking On the DVD: Kiss of the Dragon is a film that relies on its superbly choreographed fight scenes, so luckily the anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 widescreen presentation is spotless. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track positively shakes the room in the action sequences and atmospheric music by Craig Armstrong perfectly underscores the highs and lulls in the drama. Extras are plentiful: the audio commentary from Director Chris Nahon with Jet Li and Bridget Fonda is informative. "Jet Li--Fighting Philosophy" is a 12-minute bluffer's guide to Li and his life on and off-screen. "Cory Yuen--Action Academy" is about the work of long-time Li collaborator Yuen and details his fighting methodology. The "Police Gymnasium Fight: Martial Arts Demo" follows Yuen and fellow stuntmen blocking the stunning battle sequence. There are also a number of production stills and trailers for other Fox releases. --Kristen Bowditch