Jet Li is awesome, but most of his potential has yet to
be tapped.Â Too often his films rely on special effects and editing to enhance
his moves, even though he doesnÂt need it.Â HavenÂt these directors ever heard
of Jackie Chan?Â The biggest reason Jackie is so popular, is that he performs
incredible feats on film, without the aid of special effects and without manic
editing.Â Watching Jackie is like watching the super-human boxer, Roy Jones
Jr.Âboth can do things that you previously thought impossible.Â Because so many
of his stunts are fake, watching Jet Li is more like watching someone from the
WWF–both pretend to do things that you know are impossible.
That brings me to the greatest virtue of Kiss of the
Dragon, which is that it lets Jet cut loose a bit, without the editing or
special effects.Â It doesnÂt do so nearly often enough, but you get a real taste
of what could be, especially in the final fight, in which we are treated to
blinding sequences of punches with whole punches, sometimes even whole combos
being presented without all the cutting.Â The majority of the time, however, the
effects are in the way.
The film itself gets of to a brisk, nicely edited
start.Â It has that slick Luc Besson style, and for a while, I thought I was in
for a real treat.Â See, I think Jet is not utilized properly in another way.Â He
exudes a kind of sophistication that would allow him to flourish in higher brow
action films.Â I think heÂs closer to a kung-fu Connery than a Steven Segal, or
Schwarzenegger.Â So itÂs unfortunate that this film degenerates into a fairly
cookie-cutter action film.Â ItÂs not unusually bad in that respect, but not all
that good either.Â On the commentary, Jet points out that the entire Paris
police department are Âbad guysÂ in the film.Â Actually, they are an overt,
ruthless, organized crime outfit.Â He thought that might piss off French fans,
but someone should have been concerned about plausibility.Â The villain is so
evil that he should be twisting a handlebar mustache and the film never misses
an opportunity to demonstrate it. It even hints that he might be involved with
child prostitution.Â So this isnÂt the most sophisticated film.
It is a pretty good action flick.Â Even without JetÂs
dazzling kung-fu, the photography and acting are well above typical Arnold
fare.Â It also has a lot of cool little touches, like how JetÂs character uses
acupuncture, both medicinally and to fuck people up.
This is JetÂs second big American film (I havenÂt seen
The One yet), and the second time he plays opposite a hot chick and the
second time he never really touches her.Â WhatÂs going on here?Â Is it a race
HereÂs something to be really excited about: Jet LiÂs
next film is being directed by Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, To Live).
commentary is from Jet, Fonda and Nahon is pretty standard fair about how good
everyone else in the film is, why I was attracted to this movie, etc.Â I stopped
paying attention after a while.Â Probably the best features are the behind the
scenes bits about the action.Â One is on Jet Li and his fighting philosophy
and it probably has the best scenes on the entire disc, as far as Jet strutting
his stuff.Â Another is about the choreographer and another shows how a
particular scene was choreographed.Â There is also one of those
storyboard/film comparisons, which is pretty cool.
Film Overall 6
DVD Goodies 7.5