"Kiss of the Dragon"

"Kiss of the Dragon" doesn't have much of a plot, it's basically all action. It revolves around the top cop in China, Liu Jian (Jet Li), who's been sent to Paris to investigate drug-trafficking involving a high level official, but quickly finds himself a suspect in a murder. He is framed by the lead investigator Inspector Jean Pierre Richard (Tcheky Karyo), who is playing both sides with the French and the Chinese. Liu has proof of his innocence and during the search for "the real killers" he accidentally becomes involved with Jessica (Bridget Fonda), a Mid-western farmgirl brought to Paris by Richard, who keeps her addicted to drugs and on the street as a hooker.

You would think that there is some attraction between Jessica the monotone Liu Juan, but the chemistry just isn't there. The script tries to suggest and even leaves the possibility open of something deeper, but it just doesn't happen. Richard truly gives off a sinister air and Bridget Fonda does a very good job in this film. Possibly one of her best yet, too bad her leading man couldn't match her acting ability. But that's OK, because the action is what carries this film. There are some great acrobatic fighting scenes, my favorite being the attack with a billiards ball.

Now, I could say this movie plays out like a porno...good action scenes, but you gotta sit through the dialogue and plot to get to it. There are some really stupid things that happen in the film, like the shootings in the streets and other public places, where no one seems to call the police afterward...no questions...no investigation. When Richard's thugs find Liu Jian they say that he's in "a restaurant", but don't specify which one. However, the posse just happens to know where to go. Remember, Paris is a major city; there are restaurants aplenty there. Also, Jet Li is supposed to be a martial arts master and cop, but yet his preferred weapons of choice are these little acupuncture needles.

I love martial arts action movies, but "Kiss of the Dragon" is just one step up from a B movie. Don't go looking for a story line that will captivate and entrance you. This is not "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", but still, it entertains. Good soundtrack too.

Billz Movie Worthiness Scale: C

Billz Movie Worthiness Scale Values:

A = movie tickets and popcorn for 2 (about $40)
B = buy the DVD when it comes out ($25)
C = rent it
D = wait for it to be on cable/pay TV
E = wait for it to be on regular TV

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