"Kiss of the Dragon"
Directed by Chris Nahon.
Written by Luc Besson ("The Professional") and Robert Mark
Starring Jet Li, Tcheky Karyo and Bridget Fonda.
Release Year: 2001
Review Date: 7/6/01
You are all busy people, as am I. And, I
know that sometimes, especially on a Monday morning, you like to
blow through the reviews as quickly as humanly possible, so that you
can get on with your lives.
With this in mind--and, the simple fact that
I have seen three movies today, and I am writing reviews on them
all--I want to cut right to the heart of it.
In "Kiss of the Dragon", martial arts import
Jet Li--who, day in and day out, vies with Vin Diesel for the title
of "Coolest Name for a Movie Star"--plays some Chinese cop that gets
set up. He is, naturally, the BEST cop in China, has been decorated
dozens of times for hundreds of honors, and therefore beats the
living shit out of all the bad guys he comes up against. Bridget
Fonda plays--I am not kidding--a North Dakotan former crack-addicted
whore that is missing a daughter in Paris. The two team up to take
down a dirty French inspector (French star Tcheky Karyo).
The story for this film is embarrassing and
full of holes. Not one time during the course of the film do we
find out why Fonda's character is so far from her North Dakotan
roots. What is she doing in France? The film is set in Paris, but
not one character speaks a word of French the entire time!
Amazing! China's chief negotiator is assassinated mid-film; when he
gets capped, the Chinese just put him in a box and send him home. I
would have thought that the Chinese would have sent more
investigators to check out the reasons behind his broad-daylight
death; instead, we don't hear from Chinese government officials
again. Who is the man that Li's character stays with? His dad?
His uncle? His godfather? Not that it is important, since it is
reasonably clear from the beginning that the guy is going to get
And, to make matters worse, Li pulls a
couple of Remo Williams** out of his ass for good measure, just so I
don't believe ANY of the shit that goes on in the movie. By the
time he kicks a pool table ball into another guy's skull (killing
him, no less), I could hardly control myself.
Save for an exciting final fifteen minutes,
this movie is a piece of fucking shit. In fact, along with "Lethal
Weapon 4" and
"Romeo Must Die", Li is having an awful time of
finding a good American part. You can blame "Kiss of the Dragon" on
Li himself: he wrote the story and produced this film, along with
French film director Luc Besson ("The Professional"). Gordon
"Money" Stokes and my roommate Keith attended this showing with me,
and both thought this movie had Hard Vice written all over it. The
action at the end saved the film, in my mind. Gordon's words?
"This movie is fucking painful!!" Keith's thoughts? "This was the
worst movie I have seen this year."
Li was supposed to appear in the sequel to
"The Matrix" next year, but he dropped out of the project. Another
stroke of bad luck for Li? It sure looks that way, judging by how
he has picked his films thus far here in America. You are better
off renting some of Li's better films before he came over, including
"Fist of Legend" and any of the "Once Upon a Time in China" series
of films (there are three).
**Remo Williams: Any scene in a
movie where a character is standing within ten feet of another
gun-wielding individual and, upon being shot at by said gun wielder,
dodges the bullet with a panache not ever seen in real life. Taken
from the ridiculous Chinese mentor from the awful Fred Ward film "Remo
Williams: The Adventure Begins...".
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard