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This film was release in 2000 and there has been a strong backing that it is one of Jet Li's worst's movies he ever did. I hate to go against the critics on this one. The plot was a little thick with 2 different mob families going after sides of two mile long shipping port and that one man, Mr. Roth was willing to pay big money for all the property titles so he could take a proposal to build a new football stadium. The rival mob families are the Sing family and the ODay family.
When Hans Sing (Jet Li) finds out in prison his brother Po has been murdered, Hans escapes out of prison. One of the better fight scenes in the movie just before Hans escapes is in a solidarity prison cell where they hang Hans upside down on a rope and surprises them by waking up just at the right time and fighting upside down with one leg tied. Very imaginative choreography with some decent kung fu moves.
But after Hans escapes the prison and comes to the United States he begins a flirting relationship with Trish ODay ( Aaliyah ). The chemistry between them is fun and semi romantic. But they meet time after time in conspicuous circumstances. Isaak Oday has his henchman ordered to protect Trish and her brother Colin ODay ( D.B. Woodside ), but once the henchmen see Hans hanging with Trish there a numerous fight scenes that are basic skilled kung fu moves. The better fight scene is where he uses a fireman's water hose as a weapon. Jet Li uses other gadgets to use as weapons such as plastic wire ties and a leather belt. Simply amazing.
The one thing I was a little surprised at that the relationship between Hans and Trish didn't go deeper than just the flirting. The movie boils down to the families top henchmen making all the wrong moves in murdering the people who won't sell their properties and Hans has to set both families straight. Far as I will go with the plot.
Starring, Jet Li, Aaliyal, Isaiah Washington, Russell Wong, DMX, and Delroy Lindo.
This movie running time is 115 minutes
Overall this movie has a lot of good one on one fight scenes that are more realistic. There was only one scene that they used hanging wires for off the ground action. There are a few parts where the dialogue gets too cheesey and drags, but I will give this movie a 4 star rating on originality and the quality of the one on one fight scenes.
Thanks for reading !!!
This review originated by me on Epinions.com
Andrzej Bartkowiaks Romeo Must Die (2000) was written by Mitchell Kapner (The Whole Nine Yards) and Eric Bernt (Highlander) and demonstrates a tale of family feuds and the need to become independent.
Now at first glimpse, this high paced story of fighting, greed, a criminal underworld, and an underlying love for a girl looks like just any other martial arts movie, and to be fair it does share some of the expected conventions of a martial arts film: an overly-skilled Asian karate expert, fights for family honour, good triumphing over evil, whilst rescuing a beautiful dame in the process. But Kapner, as the story writer, predicted this anticipation and manipulated his story to become something new.
As the film was being written, he quoted You can no longer simply have car chases, gun shots and explosions. We used relationships, and interesting characters relating to each other, to make something fresh. Then you add the action into it. And this has worked superbly by becoming suitable for a slightly larger audience, thus lengthening its genre to anywhere from action/thriller to crime/drama .
Bartkowiak decides to use to east meets west conflict format, and uses the industrial waterside of Oakland, California as the location of our original narrative. From the introduction we learn that the bitter feud between the Asians and Americans is more like an outright war. Exactly half of the waterside is owned by each culture, which seems only fair. But without trust, treason, and trespassing, there would be no core for the proceeding action.
Jet Li (Kiss of the Dragon, The One) plays Han Sing, an ex-cop on a psychological mission of vengeance for his brother Po. Believing that someone from the American family has killed his brother, he tracks down the last number on Pos phone and traces it to a beautiful young lady named Trish ODay (R&B icon Aaliyah), who is the daughter of Isaak ODay (Delroy Lindo - Sahara, Domino), father of the American family.
After much futile deliberation between the families, we find one scene with the two main characters of each family, sitting side by side, both distressed, both vulnerable, yet exposing their identity to one another, an early convention breakthrough at this point. This not only shows the creation of a relationship that was supposedly forbidden, but how both sides of the conflict are harmed by any action taken against the opposition, just as Bartkowiak had intended.
Some solemn music picks up, and the two are embraced in several dramatic shots. We now get a close-up of each character, studying their expression allowing the audience to identify with their pain. The scene comes to an end with Trish bursting into tears and begging for help from Han. This is a pivotal moment in the film, as the two must now work alongside, and arguably against their own family.
Andrzej Bartkowiak and Mitchell Kapner have expertly manipulated the conventions and requirements of a martial arts movie. They have not created a genre of their own to demonstrate their originality, but have simply stretched the possibilities within this generation, allowing an excellent opportunity to provide the audience with what they expect to experience and more; a future basis for creativity within the movie business.
This film is brilliant a real masterpiece. With amazing kung fu fight scenes, a great soundtrack and of course the mastery of Jet Li. Not only that, but the plot is actually decent as well!! But don?t get it mixed up with the other story, Romeo and Juliet. I know the story is about the same but if you don?t like violence maybe this film isn?t for you as it involves going very graphic by going into x-ray vision and actually showing the bones breaking. I must admit it looks very cools but it isn?t for everyone. Definitely one to watch with a load of mates so you enjoy the experience together because there are some really funny parts but it wont seem as funny without other people you?ll know what I?m talking about.
"Romeo, Romeo...wherefore art thou Romeo?" "Over here kickin' ass beeatch!" The Movie Romeo Must Die was Jet Li's breakthrough movie into mainstream Western cinema. Yes, I know before then he had appeared in Lethal Weapon 4 but let's be honest, no one was paying much attention to him or knew that back in his homeland he already had around 20-something movies under his belt and was one of their biggest stars when they saw that now were they? Mention he was in it now to people and they're like “oh that was Jet Li?” (or ”who??” of course lol) so this was his big break as a Hollywood movie lead. Compared to his previous movies it's umm, well it's not that good but as an introduction to his work for Westerners it's not a bad place to start. Unfortunately since then he has turned in some real tripe, like “The One” after apparently turning down(!) the part subsequently offered to Chow Yun Fat in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon...but hopefully the descent into B-movie hell with be halted there. The world really doesn't need a 21st century replacement for Jean Claude Van Damne et. al. but Hollywood could do with a Jet Li on top form...not that they seem to have a clue how to use the likes of him and Jackie Chan but you live in hope eh? Anyhoo, Romeo Must Die is basically yet another reworking of the Romeo ' Julliet thing with a whole heap of martial arts action thrown into the mix. We have a black gang and a chinese gang warring over a bit of docklands turf and a few contrivances later we end up with the son of the Chinese gang leader(Jet Li) getting involved with the daughter(Aaliyah) of the black gang leader(Delroy Lindo). Trouble and strife ensue, lots of gun play, lots of chop-socky action...'nuff said in terms of plot I feel...'cos there really isn't that much of it lol. You really only watch this kind of thing for
the action, the stunts and the martial arts and this has it by the bucketload. In terms of Jet Li's other movies it's not a good one but in terms of what usually gets churned out by Hollywood in this genre it most certainly is. The plot it's all weaved into isn't great but it works in a seen-it-all-before kinda way, in fact, it probably couldn't fail as it's so tried and tested! Every time the bad guys catch up with Li some butt-kicking ensues and every time it's pretty entertaining stuff...dumb, but entertaining. As is the way of things we have everyday objects used in surprising ways, a fire hose becomes a lethal weapon in one fight, Li plays puppeteer with Aaliyah in another because he refuses to hit a girl himself but she has no such qualms...and so on. It's inventive and it's entertaining but you'll be wanting to suspend your disbelief for 100 minutes too... In terms of scripting, there are a few one-liners to be proud of and Anderson is there solely to provide a little comic relief and does so in a more hits than misses way. There are a few really cheesy moments which would have looked better on the cutting room floor too, notably in a brief appearance from rapper DMX but you take the good with the bad and it's mostly good, or at least 'passable'. Acting is merely 'OK'. Delroy Lindo adds a little class to the proceedings and I was surprised by Aaliyah who I had previously only seen in the quite awful Queen Of The Damned where she failed to impress...not that she was given anything to work with and arguably not even the best in the field could have delivered the dire script with any conviction! Here she turns in a pretty fair performance in the Julliet role, sexy but with that girl-next-door feel as well. It's a role to remember her by rather than her later one in the Anne Rice adaptation. Jet Li was there to kick butt and does so, his acting isn't all bad but not all good either and
the rest were merely passable...as no doubt expected! How often do you see Oscar winning performances in action movies? I rest my case... Is it worth watching? Well, there's anough action here to keep fans of such things happy and fans of martial arts movies will be equally entertained although it won't be one of the best you've seen by any stretch of the imagination. It's also worth noting there is a lot of wire work employed here to so again, purists take note. Overall though, I'd say it was a pretty fair addition to the action movie genre and worth a rental if nothing else. The DVD Hmm, first impressions...suck! Why? Well the first impressions of this DVD are the case itself which is an ugly flimsy black plastic on three sides with a cardboardback and front wedged between it. To open the case you have to manipulate the cardboard front to unhitch it from under a plastic lip and to close it, more manipulation to fit it back under...who the hell designed this crap? Much tinkering later you'll accidentally discover that the front bit of 1/2cm flimsy black plastic clips off to make things easier, but don't plan on opening the case too many times before it stays off! Inside, more of the same, ugly black housing which clamps the disc quite mercilessly and geez, did someone say cheap and nasty? Warner Home Video should be ashamed of themselves! Anyway, the disc itself isn't bad. As always, don't ask me about the techie stuff, my home set-up isn't amazing so I'm just happy if it looks good, sounds good and doesn't have any annoying glitches! So erm, it looks good presented in its original 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with strong colours and good detail and I didn't notice any signs of grain or damage either...which is good enough for me lol. In terms of sound, no problem again for me, Dolby Digital 5.1, crisp and clean etc. and you've got a choice of subtitles in
different languages (including English) should you so desire to use them. Like I said, the techie stuff doesn't interest me, it looks and sounds fine by my reckoning, that's all I really care about. Anyhoo, what did bug me was that if you dither for more than a minute on the main menu screen it automatically starts playing the movie! I loaded up the disc, was distracted by the phone and came in around 30 minutes into the movie which seems rather stupid...yes it was a case of just starting it again but why have it on a time delayed auto-play? Geez! I also kinda found the menu system to be a little unintuitive(as in, it initially hid 12 documentaries from me and seems a little 'back to front' by listing music videos one depth less than all the documentary footage) and the menu music doesn't continue through to all pages(and only runs for around a 30 second loop anyway) which is a minor grumble...as is having all the best bits of the movie playing in a five screen montage on the main menu screen. Why do I want to see these before watching the movie? Ugh...pet hate, sorry. Still, the extras aren't bad and there are lots of them...or at least the illusion of it lol. Throwing down “13 Documentaries!” on the packaging sounds great but when they're 2-5 mins in length each and “3 Music Videos!” when there are two and one 'making of' feature...then it's not quite so amazing sounding. Extras Music Videos Featuring: “Come Back In One Piece” Rap video from DMX featuring Aaliyah...in all honest, a pretty dire track from DMX(which in itself is saying something in my opinion!), pretty dire video and not exactly Aaliyah at her best either! Umm, not much to say really. If you are a big fan of either then you might be interested, otherwise you won't be...it's your basic rap video format with a clip from the movie fr
ont and back and then little else to speak of unless you're impressed by dudes hanging around looking mean...or trying to anyway. “Try again” The music video “Try Again” from Aaliyah. What's to say, it's not a bad track, the video is more inspired than it first looks(cutting martial arts into the dance choreography and the mirror room backdrop inspired by “Enter The Dragon”) but otherwise it's still just a music video and you'll probably not watch it more than once unless you are a fan of Aaliyah. “Making Of Try Again” Pretty self-explanatory - it's a brief making-of documentary for Aaliyah's video Try Again. When I say brief, I do mean brief, as it is really little more than a play-through of the video cut with some behind the scenes footage and a few words from Aaliyah and Li at the beginning. Short Documentaries I don't see any point in running through these piece by piece - suffice to say, there are 8 of them in all and they show the making of and choreography behind the major stunts in the movie. It might have been nicer if a little time had been spent tying them up to build a full documentary around them but at least they are on here and if you want to access one particular stunt scene then this s probably easier. Each runs for less than 5 minutes but are cool to watch...this kinda thing always is right? Featurettes Four more documentaries looking at the special effects, stunts etc. These too only run out at around 5 minutes and often look at the same areas already covered by the above. The section on special effects I thought was rather lame to be honest as it really doesn't say anything at all other than...umm, well they used a computer to show real-time X-rays of bones breaking...geez really?! Amusing to hear one of the special effects guys say he's never seen anything like that
done before in a movie...must have lived under a rock until asked to do this movie lol. The featurette on stunts is quite interesting though, focusing on a drop out of a window from the 23rd floor of an appartment block... HBO Special The usual made-for-TV 15 minute featurette which is designed really to pique interest in the film rather than to offer much in the way of interesting information to those who are yet to watch it. Worth watching though for a few words from producer Joel Silver and his cast, with some more quick cuts of behind the scenes footage and stunts. There's no real depth here though. Other Stuff Well, there's some extra bits and pieces like a pretty comprehensive scene selection and if you've got a DVD-ROM drive in your computer there is a game of some kind and the original theatrical website to mooch around. I can't comment on this feature. Umm, apparently there are personality profiles for Aaliyah, Jet Li and Anthony Anderson if you are to believe the inlay as well but I'm yet to find out where...?? Overall In all, you buy the movie itself and it's pretty well presented here give or take a few niggles and some really crap packaging! The extras on the disc aren't bad, pretty much what you'd expect really but nice to see it in volume. A notable absentee from the extras is a director's commentary, or a commentary from any one of the cast or crew would have been nice. It would also have been nicer to have had a little more depth in some of the documentary footage we're treated to but there ya go. Overall, not bad, better than a lot of DVD releases out there and if you liked the movie then a worthy purchase, especially since you can pick it up at prices below £10 now.
The only other film i had ever seen Jet Li in before was Lethal Weapon 4 (But i was watching that for Mel Gibson :-). I saw this advertised and thought it might be good as i really like Jackie Chan films, and all the fighting and martial arts. I was right, if you haven't seen it you must. It starts off where Jet Li is in prison, and i was thinking 'i thought he was the good guy' later to find out that he was . He had only had to go to jail becasue he was a policeman but he had let his father and brother escape and had took the blame for something they had done. He finds out hios brother has ben killed and a war has broke out between the chinese and the blacks. He escapes from jail and gets to America. He steals a taxi and is stopped by a young woman(Aaliyah) Who is the daughter of the main guy fighting for the blacks, which he doesn't know yet. She realises he has stole the cab but doesn't say anything until she gets out. He realises he likes her a lot but he doesn't have time to think about that now. He sees her later though and they fall in love despite the obvious war which should be keeping them apart. Because of this Romeo must die! As Jet Li investigates he discovers that not only was it not the blacks who killed his brother, it was a close friend who has betrayed him and now is prepared to kill him to stop that same fate happening to him!
After Han's (Jet Lee) brother is murdered in a gangland feud, two rival factions, the Chinese Triads and the Black gangsters (headed by the excellent Delroy Lindo), fight over a number of properties. Upon hearing of his brothers execution, Han escapes from prison, vowing to find his siblings killer and blah, blah, blah... The plot-by-numbers storyline is really not worth dissecting any further because a) it holds no twists or surprises, and b) it's as predictable as they come. The main reason I decided to rent this title was its lead - Jet Lee. Jet's always been a favourite actor of mine, and having seen him waste his time and talent in the distinctly average Lethal Weapon 4, I was looking forward to his first English language starring role. As far as his performance goes, it's hard to tell what more he could have done with the clichéd dialogue and characters, and other than Jet's natural charisma and likeability, nothing of his considerable acting talent is ever stretched beyond looking brooding or angry. In fact his performance is commendable in that it does contain a few fleeting moments of subtlety which it probably was never written to contain. The few lighter scenes often pair him with Aaliyah, and the two work well together. However, one forced scene between the couple appears at the film's conclusion. I found it quite distasteful the way that Jet and Aaliyah glibly hug in the most asexual manner possible, when a kiss would have been the "perfect" ending to this otherwise predictable plot. Whether this scene was due to the fact that some higher power deemed it "inappropriate" for a Chinese male to kiss a Black woman on-screen, I don't know. But this struck me as a crudely handled final scene that still irritates me now. The aforementioned Aaliyah isn't given anything particularly demanding to do, other than look incredibly attractive throughout the feature. Thankfully
she excels in this department and to give her her dues, gives a general solid, if unspectacular, performance. Now, I'm sure you're thinking "Stuff the plot, what about the action?". Well, where do I start....? For such a physically gifted actor such as Jet, the action gives him little, if no chance to show off any of the moves which obviously got him the role in the first place. The frequent (over)use of Wire-work, allowing Jet to perform multiple flying kicks and huge leaps etc., is an incredibly jarring element to the otherwise well choreographed, though poorly directed, fights. No doubt trying to replicate the action seen in the Matrix, Lee's apparent weightlessness is irritating in the extreme. The reason the action in the the Matrix seemed believable was because of the context in which it was used - an alternate reality. Seeing a man fly around whilst kicking and punching his opponents in a modern-day setting is just so ridiculous it's almost funny. The one scene which really showed off Jet's natural ability is when he utilised a hose as he would a rope dart, though even this scene is rendered fairly dull due to the "action" which proceeds it. Having only Jet as the "real-deal" in terms of action also means that the battles involving the other black actors are consistently clunky in their execution. In fact, all Jet's opponents look slow and rigid when duelling with him, and as such, the fights aren't the least bit exciting - you always feel Jet is superior in both speed and skill. However, he does continually beat the crap out the relentlessly irritating Anthony Anderson, so that's a bonus! The only aspect of the fight choreography I did enjoy was the use of what I can only describe as "Bone-Cam" shots. This technique uses an interior view of the the opponents skeleton, and the resulting broken bone is then shown in its fractured stat
e. The technique reminded me of the interior shots used in the Chinese Hero/Blood Sword comics, and although it's only used about three times, is an effective tool.
From the creator of The Matrix, in a tale of love, betrayal and sorrow, comes a present day action, kung fu fighting fest' of William Shakespeare's epic drama, "Romeo & Juliet"! In the film, the story begins with a feud between a Black Community (portrayed as the Capulet's) and an Asian Community (the Montagues), who are in the thick of gang war. At the start, the Asian gang leader's son is hanged, and it seems that this is the work of the Blacks Community, but fear not, there is a twist in the tale - especially when the Black gang leader's son is also thrown out of a 20 storey building into a nearby river along with his girlfriend, which makes the whole story more so complicated! In the middle of all this carnage, Han (Jet Li) arrives fresh out of a Hong Kong jail in America to avenge his brother, Po's, death and bumps into the black gang leader's daughter (Aaliyah - RIP). The two hit it off, much to the disliking of the gang leaders and enforcers...creating all the more fight scenes for us viewers!!! I will leave the rest of the film to you, but I would highly recommend you to rent, if not buy, this action movie, for it contains some of the most impressive fight scenes my eyes have ever seen! Overall a good action movie with an amazing storyline - which makes a nice change! But be warned, this is one of those films you must pay close attention to, otherwise you are in jeopardy of loosing the whole plot.
This film is of typical american breed action and graphics. The plot is a afro american/chinese/european gang related take over of a waterfront area to be redeveloped by big business into a american football stadium. The gangs succeed in kicking out the locals any which way they can. However on the way the gang bosses sons get killed on the way, which brings out a typical revenge family death type film. There is an uninspiring performance by Jet Li made slightly better with special effects. However his performaces in films by Made in Hong kong et Al are much better for people who like martial arts/actions films. There are some comical interludes but on the whole the film is obvious, and the plot is thin. The music score is good for hip hop and RnB lovers, with a good performance acting wise by Aaliyah. On the whole this film is for watching on video when everything else in the video shop has been seen.
By now we are unfortunately used to Shakespeare movies set in present day or the near past. Some of them are even well done. Romeo must die has one characteristic that boldly differentiates it from these movies, it has absolutely nothing to do with Romeo and Juliet. Most of the blame for the misconception lies with the media, since the movie was advertised and reviewed as a kung fu version of the play. Ok, that just isn't true. Jet Li is great at what he does, and he proves it again, but not without major hinderance from incompetent editing and special effects. Some of the moves shown are unrealistic enough to be in the Matrix, but then of course that was sci-fi. Also, there are certain details that were obviously and poorly done on the computer, such as flames that look like a high school student drew them on Photoshop. These complaints aside, the plot itself is quite reasonable for a kung fu movie, with its share of double-crossing, tragedy, and comedy. Some of the characters offer comic relief, but the lines are poorly written cliches and don't really bring out the laughs they should. The fight choreography is an important component of every kung fu movie, and Romeo must die has some pretty well done fight scenes. This is the saving grace of the movie, as there is no romance to speak of and the plot is revealed by the characters dialogue early on. I was very happy to see this movie as a matinee, and I would certainly recommend the same for everyone. Of course it's always nice to see an action film on the big screen, but this one is not worth 8 dollars.
Romeo Must Die is a bit like the Shakespeare story Romeo& Juliet apart from the fact that there is no Romeo & Juliet and instead of the Montagues and Capulets theres the different families, the Coloured and the Chinese. The main character, Jet Li, was sent to prison to save his father and his little bro. He escapes and tries to find out what happens... This film has some really could fight scenes especially the end fight scene between the two chinese guys,one of the best fight scenes I have ever seen. The fact that some scenes are spoken in chinese is not a problem,not annoying at all. It is not deep culture but it is a great,fast action film which will keep you interested and satisfied.
ROMEO MUST DIE......This has got to be in the top 10 of all DVDs on sale. it has loads and loads ov action n its not the same all fights like in most films the propes he user are brilliant. IT has brilliant actors, fighters and brilliant weapons. It was made by the makers of THE MATRIX which iz allso a exerlant film which i am goin 2 review so go on read it u know you wanna :>. It has graphics that has never been sceen before. IT show body bones being crushed, snapted and a heart being stabed. The film is about Blacks VS chineese. Thery are fighting to own all the properties around the sea front. the chinese want it far the mony (i hink) and the black boss izic want it so they can build a football stadium there. But in all this the second in comand on each side kill the bosses son which leads to them both thinking thw other side killed there son. at the end all iz ravieled and the black daughter n chinese son get jiggy wiv with it. sorry if that has ruaned the film but i got told to write the plot so i did. If you dont like he fim type or the story line you should watch it far the new graphics involved with the film. Jet li invents loads of new fighting gravity defying moves. this is a must se film.
I remember when i saw a trailer for this over a year ago, and i thought wow! finally a US film is gonna git Jet Li a break. The plot involves gang/family war, murder, revenge, love, yadda, yadda, yadda. But lets face it the main selling point of this movie is JET LI, (bruce lee for the new millenium) the action is pretty darn good, but sadly most of it IS wirework stuff (yes like what u saw in the matrix)and can be a bit far fetched. but my main problem with it is a couple of the fight scenes are waaay to short for my likeing, especially the final fight. which is even worse news for those of you buying the region 2 release as its CUT! and Not by the BBFC!!! Warner have, on more than one occasion submitted films to the BBFC and they have been passed with an 18 certificate..But warner want to get more buts on the seat so cut it to get a 15 (yep same as the matrix). My recommendation would be rent before you buy.
I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that one of the key attractions of this film for me was that it was produced by the same guy that produced The Matrix. Pitched as a sort of Hip Hop meets Martial Arts fusion, Romeo Must Die is an effective action movie that is genuinely very entertaining. The film portrays two warring gangland families – one black, the other Chinese – who are about to venture into a joint contract with a property developer. When the son of the Chinese family is found murdered, suspicion becomes rife as to who is responsible, which threatens the fragile peace between the two factions. Han Sing is another son of the Chinese gang leader, who became incarcerated in a Hong Kong prison in order to protect his family. When he hears of his brother’s murder, he escapes from prison, and travels to America intent on finding those responsible. A number of coincidences lead to Han Sing becoming involved with the daughter of the rival black gang leader, and together they attempt to discover who murdered Han’s brother. The film twists and turns as all the players start to reveal their true colours, in a desperate bid to become the turf war winners, with the two children caught in the middle of the conflict. For most of the film the action is fast paced and things move along quickly, but I couldn’t help but think that the plot weakened in places. The title of the film, and certain elements of the plot, certainly lean towards a modern-day rendition of Romeo And Juliet – but this is not a love story. The relationship that develops between the two lead characters is purely based on friendship, and I for one found them all the more likeable as a result. Fans of martial arts movies will certainly appreciate the fight sequences in Romeo, which utilise both skilful choreography, and visual effects – very much like the fight scenes in the Matrix. There are some very imaginative fight scenes which were, a
lthough somewhat far-fetched, visually very impressive. There are also a number of excellent stunts in the film - two gang members are thrown from the window of an exceptionally tall building and plunge to their death; a chase between two motorbike riding assassins and a Mercedes; and a scene involving the improvisation of a hose pipe as an offensive weapon. I also liked the use of an X-Ray simulating filter in certain scenes, which was used to show us the effect of various impacts on Han Sing’s aggressors’ bones – ouch. Romeo Must Die marked the acting debut of the American R & B singer Aaliyah, who generally performs very well. Resisting the temptation to break out into song throughout the film, she certainly looks the part, although the role was never stretching for her, and I can’t help but think she ultimately plays herself. Jet Li, previously seen in Lethal Weapon 4, is an extremely skilled martial artist and special effects aside he was very impressive to watch in action. Russell Wong provides the (rather over-cool) adversary for Han Sing and Isaiah Washington rather lacks any edge as the leader of the black gang. Another positive element to the film is the excellent soundtrack. Although I’m not big on Hip Hop or R n B I have to say that I thought the music was really good, and certainly gave the film a cutting edge. Aaliyah’s top five single “Try Again” doesn’t actually crop up until the final credits, but there are loads of other great tracks throughout the film. Where I think this film falls down is in its target audience. Conscious of the fact that many of the target viewers will be teenagers or younger, the film- makers took steps to ensure that the film lacked the gritty edge that you might expect any such gang war related film to include. Consequentially, a comic character is introduced – the obese Maurice – who has more than his fair share or sharp lines and w
itty quips which really start to wear a bit thin. Although the fight sequences are great fun they are also relatively tame - all the violence had a distinctly toned down feel to it. Throughout the film, I couldn’t help feeling as though I was watching a feature length version of The Fresh Prince, as there was a definite teen feel to the whole thing. There is the occasional use of a swear word, but generally things don’t get anywhere near as nasty as you might expect. The DVD has one of the widest selection of Special Features that I have seen in recent months.: Making Romeo Must Die – a relatively short behind-the-scenes programme which features interviews with the cast and the production team. Although you get an idea of how some of the scenes were filmed, the documentary never really goes into much detail, and I was rather disappointed until I saw the other documentaries. 3 Music Videos – a great feature on any modern day DVD, with two videos from Aaliyah as well as a “making of” for the video of Try Again (overkill methinks). Theatrical trailers – which I can never really see the point of on a DVD but there are two here anyway. Craft Mini-Documentaries – providing greater detail on some of the visual effects processes and stunts. Action Scene Mini-Documentaries – explaining in depth how some of the key fight scenes were choreographed and put together. Personality Profiles – of Jet Li, Aaliyah and Anthony Anderson. There are also additional features for the PC including an interactive fight challenge and the original theatrical website. The menus for accessing the special features are not as simple as they could be – to get to the mini-documentaries you have to keep going onto a new screen, and I lost interest very quickly. The whole DVD package is well put together though, and with the special features offers excellen
t value for money. Whilst Romeo Must Die could never be described as intellectually stimulating material, the film has a genuine appeal that sets it above a lot of other films in this genre. The DVD is a good value package but I’m not sure the movie merits purchasing it.
I've seen many a martial arts film in my time, but this takes on a different style, and works. The director has abandoned the usual set of dialogue, fight, dialogue, fight...you get the general idea. Instead the film flows more naturally and the fantastic fight scenes fit in. Jet Li is one of the fastest martial artists I have ever seen, and it shows. Some of the worlds best fight coreographers have worked to provide the film with some awesome and beautiful martial arts sequences. The influence of the Matrix producer (Joel Silver) shows as he extends upon his "east meets west" style. The Matrix has moved the boundaries for martial arts films, which allows the film to experiment with moves that aren't usually possible from Hong Kong cinema. Admittidly, the plot isn't the best in the world. It is a well recognised but loosely based rendition of Romeo and Juliet. Two feuding families, and a lover from each. This is where the gorgeous Aaliyah comes in. Not only does she star in the film, but she has provided half the soundtrack aswell. The soundtrack lends itself so well to the style of the film. It was Aaliyah where the idea for a hip hop action movie first came about. Its big beats and soulful RnB reflect the combination of the fast pace action and slower plot developments that mix so well. A blend of humour, revenge, fast and furious fights and breath-taking special effects blends to produce a hip hop kung fu masterpiece.
Storyline ******* There are two warring organised mafia-type gangs (blacks and the chinese), each competing to gain the most money on a contract for waterside property by a property developer. The head of the black gang wants to get out of the crime game. The plot goes that the eldest son of the chinese mafia falls in love with the daughter of the head of the black mafia hence the title. They then go on to discover the 'gang war' isn't as simple as it first seemed. Fight Scenes and Special FX ********************* Constructed by the same company who did the fights and fx in the matrix, the fight scenes were always going to be good. Plenty of martial arts and highflying moves. There are some very good intra-body shots show the damge inside the body from the blows received. Soundtrack ********* In the film the music is mainly from DMX and their rap stylings seem to capture the essence of gang warfare. It enhances the atmosphere greatly. DVD Extras ********* Music Videos- from the female lead. Fight Scene and Special Effects Breakdowns- which are very informative and throurough, although would spoil the atmosphere if watched before the film. Featurettes- Trailers; good to watch just before the main film. I also believe there is a directors commentry which is also very good. This opinion is based on the Region 2 DVD.
Cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak, the cameraman behind Speed, Lethal Weapon 4, and The Devil's Advocate, makes his directorial debut with a lively but by-the-numbers film that mixes Hong Kong action pyrotechnics with gritty urban gang drama. Jet Li stars as a jailed cop named Han who hightails it to Oakland, California, to seek revenge for the gang-related murder of his brother. What he finds, though, is a fierce war between his father's syndicate and that of Isaak O'Day (Delroy Lindo) for control of the city's precious waterfront land, as both groups are trying to make a deal with a corrupt football-team owner to build a new stadium. The political shenanigans are basically just a backdrop for the kick-ass action, and to give Li a number of enemies to lock limbs with. It also provides him with a love interest, Trish (hip-hop star Aaliyah), who's O'Day's daughter and like Han, the only straight arrow in a family of crooked mobsters. Li and Aaliyah have a teasing, gentle chemistry, and when they're onscreen together, the movie lights up and glides along smoothly. Li even finds a way to work Aaliyah into one of his action set pieces, using her arms and legs to fight a female adversary because "I can't hit a girl!" However, when these two aren't onscreen (and that's a fair amount of the time) the movie plods along, despite a stately turn by Lindo and Isaiah Washington and Russell Wong as two family allies who may not be as loyal as they seem. Li's action, though, is still phenomenal as ever, from his prison breakout (as he takes out a platoon of guards--strung upside down by one leg) to a knockdown-dragout fight with the agile and dangerously sexy Wong. And despite the Romeo and Juliet overtones, this is one mighty chaste romance, albeit one with a happy ending for the star-crossed lovers. --Mark Englehart, Amazon.com