Terrific Modern Action Movie (by CuriosityKilledShawn)
Kiss of the Dragon is a hyperactive martial arts movie with a heavy European feel. After Jet Li's fans were left disappointed with the fake, CGI-enhanced fighting in Romeo Must Die he decided to go back to practical, hand-to-hand combat with literally no strings attached. KOTD is the perfect excuse for action, with minimal plot and impossible odds.Basically, Jet Li plays a Chinese cop Lui Jian who travels to Paris to help the police bring a crime boss to justice. But the French police just happen to be heavily, heavily corrupt and kill Mr. Big, framing Lui Jian in the process. Keen to <more>
stay alive, Lui Jian flees the scene, but not before screaming, mad and completely hat stand police inspector Richard Tcheky Caryo in his typically delirious role sends just about every hardened police psycho after him. Outrageously outnumbered, Lui Jian prevails and fights his way through swarms and swarms of thugs out for his blood. Using only his hands and feet and any useful nearby tool he manages to wipe them all out.Far-fetched it may be, but action choreographer Cory Yuen shoots it all in the most realistic and stylish way. You really will believe Lui Jian is capable of such an impossible feat, that's how realistic the action is. And all without glamorising guns.KOTD uses the rule of increasingly mad set-pieces. The first desperate escape through the corridors and passageways of the hotel, the death-defying escape from the Seine Barge and through the tunnels and sewers, the orphanage confrontation and especially the final scene in the police station where Lui Jian takes on a dojo full of martial artist police officers, evil twins and finally Inspector Richard. It's all breathtaking stuff and very, very violent. With far too many sanitised PG-13 minded 'action' movies abundant these days KOTD is a breath of hardcore fresh air.If you like this then I suggest checking out The Transporter. It may be slightly tamer but it's made by the same people producer Luc Besson, Writer Robert Mark Kamen and Cory Yuen and is also set in France, only with a warmer, more exotic look.The DVD is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with a great Dolby 5.1 soundtrack. There are some extras and a commentary if you're into that sort of thing.
** out of ****I initially saw Kiss of the Dragon in theaters about two years ago, and left thinking I saw a pretty damn good martial arts thriller. Having the seen film again just recently, I'm a little flustered as to what I saw in this film, and a little disheartened, too, considering prior to my second viewing, this had been my favorite Jet Li film to date I've seen a lot of his Hong Kong flicks, the man impresses me, his movies typically don't .Li stars as Liu Juan, a Chinese Intelligence officer who's assisting a French inspector named Richard Tcheky Karyo on a case <more>
involving a Chinese crimelord Ric Young . Richard kills the crimelord, blames it on Juan, who has to go on the run in the streets of France, now a stranger in a land he's not accustomed to. There, he teams with a prostitute with a heart of gold Bridget Fonda , who also happens to be associated with the French inspector. Much ass-kicking, but not a whole lot of fun, ensues.The whole point of a martial arts thriller is to deliver fast-paced fun from beginning to end. On that simple basis alone, Kiss of the Dragon definitely doesn't succeed. While it's true plot isn't very important to the genre, that doesn't mean it should be entirely ignored. In this film's case, there's barely even a set-up. Hell, we're never even told why Karyo's character kills the crimelord, which equates to watching a whole lot of innocent people dying without ever really knowing the reason why. That's pretty frustrating.Worse yet, Kiss of the Dragon takes itself entirely seriously, with almost no hint of comic relief closest I can figure to an attempt at a laugh is Li propping a pair of "paralyzed" French cops against a row of train lockers, but even that joke is ruined because Li's plan doesn't work . There's even a scene where a crooked cop is ordered to and he gladly obeys to shoot up an entire Hotel lobby just to get at Li, regardless of all the bystanders in the area. I realize these cops are corrupt, but no police officer, no matter how crooked or powerful, would actually shoot up a public place full of civilians, especially with another country involved in this case, China .I know what you're thinking; it's a martial arts flick, let issues like that slide. Typically, I would, but given this movie's ultra-serious tone, watching a ludicrous scene like that simply doesn't mesh. Take The Transporter, a film made by virtually the same crew, I was able to forgive a lot of that movie's idiocies because much of the material was unpretentious and played for humor.That's not to say Kiss of the Dragon doesn't have any bright spots. As expected, most of the fight scenes are exciting, particularly the opening fight in the hotel and the climactic two-on-one brawl in the French police station. All credit for the movie's sucesses go to Jet Li and choreographer Corey Yuen, who keep the movie watchable with the energetic fights.Unfortunately, their efforts are marred by director Chris Nahon's obsession with quick cuts, which is definitely not the way to go when it comes to martial arts. The joy of watching Jet Li in action is to observe how graceful and quick he is and constantly cutting away during these fights only defeats the purpose of it. One fight in particular, set in the Chinese restaurant, is just terrible, ruined by the quick cuts and rap music.In between the fights, the film focuses on a developing relationship between Li and Fonda, and believe me, these moments are gag-inducing. Fonda's performance relies entirely on histrionics, lots of crying and incessant rambling, which contrasts heavily with Li's quiet and focused intensity this works during one hilarious moment where Li tells Fonda he's not gay, just listen to his tone .There are more problems I could get into, such as Tcheky Karyo's hilariously hard-boiled performance as the corrupt French inspector. His over-the-top delivery and wildly idiotic actions make for probably the dumbest character Karyo has ever played. And though Li is quietly charismatic, he doesn't make half the impression Jason Statham did in The Transporter. But at least most of the fights are fun, making this Kiss one that's alternately sweet and repellant.
Workout for the pituitary and adrenal glands (by oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx)
The action scenes in this movie are flawless. The brutal fight with the black man in the restaurant is absolutely adrenalising. Jane Fonda is way out beyond raunchy. Tchéky Karyo is hilariously evil as the baddie. This film is all about the sleazy atmosphere and the fighting; it is very very special. The fight that Li has with the twins at the end literally made me whoop out loud. And let me tell you that I was watching this movie past midnight in a house of sleeping people and that I am an art-house fan. In the cinema I would have clapped. Let me tell you about Tchéky Karyo's <more>
character, Inspector Richard, the man had a pet tortoise that he kept locked in his desk draw with an apple and some water. His idea of fun was to take it out, put it on its back and watch it struggle, how crazy is that? And whilst this movie is genuinely nasty, it does actually involve moments of extreme calculated hilarity, such as the opening of the locker and the walk into the dojo, i was rolling on the floor. One of the great hallmarks of Jet Li's electrifying one-on-one fight scenes is that you actually sense murder in the air, something that astonished me when I first saw him in Bodyguard from Beijing.The only other movie I can think to compare it with is Hardboiled, which has similarly has an atmosphere of jaw-dropping hysteria about the action.
Probably one of Jet li's best! (by varghesejunior)
I really loved this movie...It's even better than Romeo must die.Story is about a China Cop who is sent to France to find a heroin smuggler with the help of french police but soon gets implicated in the murder of the criminal by the corrupt Frenchmen who themselves are part of a crime syndicate involving drugs , murder and flesh trade.The story by Jet li is really good, the action sequences are awesome and show Jet li in his best ever performances, fast moving and active yet humble and simple.The film is fast-paced and thrilling, and will keep you at the edge of your seat for 1.5 hours <more>
Kiss of The Dragon is one of the best Li's films since Fist of Legend. The action sequences are amazing and Corey Yun fight chorography if off the meat rack. Jet Li is easily proving that he's the man with every amercian flick he's done so far. Check this movie out.
Why we need a 243rd review (by A_Different_Drummer)
At the time of this writing, I can see that 242 IMDb users have already taken time off their busy schedules to review this film. That number is a significant multiple of the number of professional reviewers who opined on this production in first run! Which raises the question, why another review? Answers are as follows: 1. The IMDb averaged rating is not merely a little wrong, it is crazy wrong. This is one of the most coherent martial arts films ever done. It stars Jet Li. Legendary wildman Luc Besson is behind the typewriter. The under-utilized Bridget Fonda single-handedly carries the <more>
female portion of the film, and does a great job. Several of the fight scenes are as carefully conceived and choreographed as anything Bruce Lee ever attempted. See the "twins" scene . 2. The script works, I mean it REALLY works. The idea of a lone agent from China seems a bit stretched, until you realize that, if China were to send a lone gun, it would likely be Jet Li. The double-cross works because, you figure, if anyone understands French cops, it would be Besson. The kidnapping works. The fight scene with the pool balls works. The bickering between Li and Fonda at the noodle shop works. The acupuncture angle works. The ending is fantastic. Do you see where this is going? The hallmark of a really good film is that you can watch it from beginning to end and remain engaged. This story delivers. 3. I have explained in my other reviews that I have seen too many martial films in my lifetime. I am no longer sure if I could pass an ink blot test, I would probably think the ink blots were trying to kill each other. This is especially true after my recent review of KILTRO also done for IMDb . I think I lost brain cells watching that. But this I do know: KISS is my second-favorite martial arts film, ever, The first is Forbidden Kingdom, also reviewed here . If this is not a near-perfect film within its class, nothing is.
This is definitely Jet Li's best action movie since he came over from Hong Kong. Some scenes reminiscent of Fist of Legend in this one. Quite well choreographed fight scenes with good realistic violence a la Bruce Lee. The plot is rather formulaic, as is much of the dialogue I expected better from Besson , but the movie has a bit of the 'Nikita' flair guys going crazy with fully automatic weapons in public places . A bit too much talking and not enough fighting, but far superior to 'Romeo Must Die'. The use of no wires is also a very nice touch. Best action movie of this <more>
I was hoping this movie to be better than 'Romeo Must Die' and I was not disappointed. I truly believe this is Jet Li's English coming out movie too bad it was released in the summer when other bigger movies come out .I did not go to see the movie for the story line and those who don't won't be disappointed either. The action was great especially the final scenes. Bridget Fonda did not do much found her irritating in some scenes but then again, did not watch the movie because she was there.Believable, maybe not ... Jet Li as the new Bruce Lee, most definitely!8/10
Jet Li's best English language film (by a_chinn)
This film was released to pretty dreadful reviews, but I always felt it was Jet Li's best English language film. "Romeo is Bleeding" is also quite good, but Li has a story credit on this one and the script was written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, the schlocky team behind enjoyably cartoony action films like the Transporter and Taken franchises. Both of those series are entertaining semi-serious action/revenge nonsense, and that is pretty much what "Kiss of the Dragon" is as well. Li plays a Chinese police office going to Paris to arrest a Chinese drug lord, but <more>
finds himself framed by dirty French cops. Li goes on the run, but with help from prostitute Bridget Fonda, to crack the drug ring. The story isn't really all that great, like most Besson pictures "Leon" being the main exception , but the action is terrific Li's regulars collaborator Corey Yuen was the martial arts choreographer on this film . Besides Li being an amazing martial artist, which is the main reason to watch this film, Fonda is quite good in what is her second to last theatrical film performance before retiring from acting. This movie made me miss her. Fonda was never Meryl Steep, but she was always very likable and genuine in her films, whether it was a silly action flick like "Point of No Return," a rom-com like "It Could Happen to You," or an indie like "Scandal," she was always good. Besides Fonda, you also have the reliably good Ric Young as the slimy drug lord and Burt "Cato from The Pink Panther" Kwouk in a small role. As with most Besson productions, this is slickly made if empty headed entertainment, but Li with aid from Corey Yuen and a good performance by Fonda, manage to elevate this above Besson's usual output.