Kiss of the Dragon (2001)
Jet Li is a man with fantastic martial arts skills and splendor. I have no doubt in my mind that if this man were given a proper American vehicle he could knock ’em dead. Romeo Must Die was too tired and the fight scenes were too cramped (not to mention the hilarious spine flashing kick at the end). Li takes off this time as a Chinese intelligent officer who travels to France to unwittingly become the center of corrupt cops’ ire. Li dispatches people in some unintentionally uproarious manners like the use of chopsticks or acupuncture. The story is meaningless and just a door to the action sequences to show off the muscle of Li.
The biggest detriment of Kiss of the Dragon happens to be in the area of why the audience is forking over their green – action. The action scenes in Dragon are horribly choreographed and edited together. Nothing astounds the eye or makes the pulse race; it only annoys and agitates. The audience is coming to see some awesome kung fu delivered by its maestro Li, but what they end up getting is dull fight sequences horrendously spliced together. No sense of time or geography comes from these edits, which means there might be stuff happening but you don’t know what and to whom. If you’re going to showcase Li at least give the man a workable stage for his talents.
The story of Dragon is laughably bad with some perfect forehead slapping moments, like when Li is running from the bad guys and ducks into a martial arts class where everyone then takes him on. Bridget Fonda hits a career low as a woman forced into prostitution so she can retrieve her little girl again. The entire supporting cast is about as animated and well put together at the atrocious fight sequences. Only true die-hard fans of Li or kung fu should go see Kiss of the Dragon. The rest of the public should just hide their chopsticks when Li comes for dinner.
Nate’s Grade: C-