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-

About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on July 9, 2001, in 2001 Movies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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