|Directed by:||Chris Nahon|
|Written by:||Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen|
|Starring:||Jet Li, Bridget Fonda, Tcheky Karyo, Ric Young, Burt Kwouk|
|Released:||October 11, 2001|
We call it “martial arts” but the term “martial commercial” seems more appropriate these days. There’s no longer any variety - it’s just repetitive kicking and punching combined with well-timed sound effects to give the illusion of pain. Some of these glorified stuntmen wouldn’t even deserve a place in a WWF show.
In Kiss Of The Dragon, Liu Jian (Li) has been sent to Paris as China’s representative in an investigation involving an Asian drug ring operating in France. Liu soon finds it’s the French who can’t be trusted with Inspector Richard (Karyo) intending to frame him to shirk attention from Richard’s own involvement in whatever he is concealing.
Richard’s clean cover is blown however when his henchman accidentally tape him shooting a powerful Chinese drug dealer. As you’d expect, Liu gets his hands on the videotape giving him leverage but Richard will use every resource at his disposal to stop Liu from exposing the truth. When Liu forms a friendship with prostitute Jessica (Fonda), he finds that her own connection with Richard might give him the edge as the tension escalates even further...
That’s my best effort to explain a story that makes very little sense. There are two major action scenes to open the flick and they disguise the fact the story isn’t developed. We’re not told why Liu has been sent to China, who he’s working for or what he’s there to uncover. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention? I sure ain’t going back again to find out.
Looking particularly at the action itself – it’s pathetic. There were several moments where it was clear that body contact wasn’t made and you’d think that with a $25m budget, they’d have the resources to get it right. I’m also at a loss to explain Liu’s mysterious technique of using acupuncture to subdue his enemies. Someone may have to explain that to me also.
Whilst my review for Rush Hour 2 several weeks ago may appear to contradict the stance I’m taking here, there’s a big difference in what both films had to offer. Rush Hour 2 was about comedy but Kiss Of The Dragon is about nothing. There is no suspense, no thought process, and no point at all to go and see it. I wasted my Saturday night so please make sure you don’t do the same.