Kiss Of The Dragon Movie Review

0
1
Subscribe To:

Ten years ago, before Hollywood accepted Asian heroes in its martial arts movies, a kung-fu flick as pea-brained and badly acted as "Kiss of the Dragon" would most certainly have starred Jean-Claude Van Damme. But nowadays Hong Kong staple Jet Li ("Romeo Must Die") does the embarrassing honors himself.

Its plot -- virtuous visiting Chinese cop (Li) versus flagrantly crooked, preposterously evil Paris police inspector (Tcheky Karyo) -- is so inept that the movie never once even alludes to the rogue cop's motives. He kills a Chinese businessman and frames Li to get the ball rolling. He sends a handful of super-buff henchmen (who clearly aren't cops but come and go as they please from police HQ) to kill Li when he escapes. He runs a heroin ring and has apparently kidnapped -- I'm not making this up -- a "farmer's daughter from North Dakota" (Bridget Fonda in a career nadir) and forced her to become a back alley hooker by threatening to kill her daughter.

But why is he doing all this? What's his goal? Who, for example, was the Chinese businessman and what does killing him do for the cop?

I wouldn't ask such questions if "Kiss of the Dragon" made it worth my while to check my brain at the door. But in 100 minutes of screen time, there is not a single exciting or even entertaining moment. Director Chris Nahon (a feeble protege of producer Luc Besson) gives Jet Li way too much acting (something he's never been very good at) and not nearly enough butt-kicking (which is why people go to his movies in the first place).

When Li does get to kick up his heels, it's in downright boring fight sequences that are so generic as to defy description. Save the one signature shot used in the commercials -- Li kicking a billiard ball at a guy's head -- there's simply nothing memorable about these dull duels whatsoever except that they are often graphically, gratuitously bloody.

Gratutiousness seems to be a recurring theme here. Karyo's cop is so over-the-top cruel that he indiscriminately shoots innocent bystanders and his own men (without ever answering to his police superiors). Yet he keeps Fonda alive, forcing her to shoot heroin for no explored reason, even though she's so obnoxious and skittish that she has to be the worst hooker in the history of the sex trade.

He's also shown turning turtles on their backs for fun, which goes to show how simple-minded "Kiss of the Dragon" really is -- Nahon seems to need such idiotic contrivances to give the movie any flavor at all. For the same reason Jet Li wears a bracelet of acupuncture needles, which he uses to paralyze opponents and put Fonda to sleep. The filmmakers clearly feel the need to ply the picture with clumsy gimmicks.

Conceived by Jet Li himself, "KOD" (as the studio is hyping it) was co-written by comic book-minded producer Besson ("The Fifth Element," "The Messenger"), who blatantly steals scenes from his own movies (the laundry chute blast from "La Femme Nikita") and from those of superior action directors (the tunnel chase from "Ronin"). Plus the movie goes out of its way to dumb down every single element of the story -- even going so far as to force an Anglo nickname on Jet Li's character so American halfwits won't get confused by having to remember his Chinese moniker.

Kowtowing further to what U.S. action audiences have come to expect, half the movie is inexplicably accompanied by a gansta rap soundtrack -- so apropos to a plot about a Chinese cop and a girl from North Dakota in France, don't you think?

I stopped taking notes about halfway through "Kiss of the Dragon" because there didn't seem to be much of a point once it hit a certain level of stupidity (a 10 minute fight in the middle of police HQ yet no police show up) and discontinuity (two guys firing machine guns at Li and Fonda simply disappear from a scene).

Overproduced action movies aimed at the lowest common denominator simply cannot get any more trite or insultingly hackneyed than "Kiss of the Dragon."

Cast & Crew

Director :

0
1
Subscribe To:

Comments

Philemon Duke's picture

Philemon Duke

That is totally discriminatary here. Why not talk about other actors like that.

3 years 7 months ago
Report
View Comments

Kiss Of The Dragon Rating

" Zero "

Rating: R, Opened: Friday, July 6, 2001

Advertisement

More Jet Li

Uneventful Box Office Maintains Summer Momentum

Not much to report from the box office after this week – despite all its manpower, Expendables 3 just couldn’t outgun previous chart toppers Teenage...

The Expendables 3 Movie Review

Striking a tone somewhere between the po-faced original and the silly Part 2, this rampaging action nonsense is badly overcrowded and chaotic, but there's plenty...

The Expendables 3 Trailer

The cast of 'The Expendables 3' discuss the upcoming action film in a short featurette. Among them are Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, Glen Powell, Sylvester...

The Expendables 3 Trailer

Barney Ross is the fearless leader of elite New Orleans mercenary team The Expendables who are still as active and formidable as ever despite the...

Advertisement

The Expendables 3 Trailer

A formidable group of New Orleans mercenaries led by the no-nonsense Barney Ross are starting to feel less invincible than they used to. Their latest...

Sylvester Stallone Twitter Rant: "Harrison Ford In", "Greedy" Bruce Willis Out Of 'Expendables 3'

Sylvester Stallone has made his feelings towards Bruce Willis crystal clear after tweeting about Expendables 3. The Rocky actor confirmed that Harrison Ford would be...

Nicolas Cage A "Highly Unlikely" Addition To Expendables 3

After being rumoured to be joining the Expendables 3 cast, Knowing actor Nicolas Cage has shot down such murmurings in an interview with Den of...

Sylvester Stallone Announces Expendables 3 and Great Escape 2 (Sort Of)

It's shaping up to be a pretty hectic 18 months or so for Sylvester Stallone, who will star in two big-budget movies for Lionsgate and...

Advertisement