Kiss of the Dragon

Kiss of the Dragon is a movie with the barest semblance of a plot, but it is highly energetic and entertaining.

The movie starts off in high gear, by throwing Liu Jian (Jet Li), a detective on loan from the Chinese police investigating a case in Paris, into serious trouble. He is framed for murder by French police inspector Jean-Pierre Richard (Tchéky Karyo) who has connections everywhere in this city and wants to kill Liu Jian so he can be Paris' crime and drug lord. All other details are irrelevant and not very comprehensible either.

The movie focuses on various attempts by Richard to find Jian, and how Jian manages to prove his innocence with the aid of a prostitute Jessica (Bridget Fonda) who has her own score to settle with Richard. Along the way, Jian gets to kick major (mostly) French arse.

The movie is set in Paris, and that adds a certain charm (and brought back a lot of cool memories for me). Jet Li is extremely impressive as a small but tough martial arts expert. Tchéky Karyo over acts, but he does make for a convincing villain. Bridget Fonda is irritating.

The martial arts scenes are absolutely excellent and great to watch. Li is definitely convincing as a mean fighting machine. There is some humour in the fighting which makes for a nice contrast to the gore (of which there is a lot). The film is well-paced though it would've been better without all the sentimental gook (mostly between Li and Fonda, who have zero chemistry) since it only serves to slow it down and ruin the mood.

I'm not sure if this is a good direction for Jet Li to take in terms of American films (his first major outing here, Romeo Must Die, I thought was a bit better), but the movie is fun to watch for its sheer energy level. I recommend checking it out on the big screen.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||