Kiss of the Dragon
Director: Chris Nahon
Action director: Corey Yuen
Stars: Jet Li, Bridget Fonda, Tcheky Karyo
A Chinese cop (Li) is sent to France to investigate a heroin smuggling ring. A sting for a drug runner turns out to be a setup to implicate Li in order to cover-up for a corrupt French cop (Karyo). After his superior is killed, Li's options seem to have run out, until he meets a hooker (Fonda) who holds the evidence to bring down the crooked cops.
This movie starts out well, with a couple of good action sequences right off the bat. However, the introduction of Bridget Fonda really slows the film down. She's given way too much screen time and dialogue for her overall imporatance in the plot, which really isn't much. You might call her "Bridget Exposition" because all she really does is feed Jet a tidbit so he can get the next clue, and move on to the next scene. The street-smart hooker who helps the hero is a old plot device, and the film-makers do nothing new with it here (of course, she also has a little kid in jeopardy that Jet must save).
The fight scenes are a mixed bag. They're co-ordinated well via Corey Yuen, but the camerawork and editing are just horrible in parts, with everything shot way too close up and cut too fast. Like some other recent action movies (like Jet's Romeo Must Die), there is a lot of rap used on the soundtrack, and a lot of it seems out of place, especially during the final fight.
Despite these problems, Kiss of the Dragon is still a good movie. Jet gives a solid performance, going from humorous to tough-guy mode, and displaying a greater grasp of English -- it was also a refreshing change (for a US movie) to have the Asian lead treated as something other than a gimmick (ala Rush Hour), even though there are a few stupid jokes sprinkled throughout the film. Tcheky Karyo gives a great performance as the villain, bringing just the right mix of wily and witty to the role. And, despite some bad makeup on Jet that makes him look old and the aforementioned fight editing, the movie looks nice. Also, the fights are pretty exciting -- quite violent at times -- and should satisfy most action fans, if not die-hard Jet fanboys.
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A review of the DVD for this movie can be found here
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