In this television series adaptation of the Bruce Lee movie, Chen Zhen is a young farmer whose family has been killed by thieves. Along with his sister, he goes to Shanghai to find a way to... See full summary »
A Good, Solid Example of the Heroic Bloodshed Genre. Arty and Entertaining.
I am not quite sure what the reason is for the harsh criticism that the film is receiving by commentators here on IMDb. "Ballistic Kiss" is one of those rare times that a film fuses together mass entertainment with personalized artistry, albeit not entirely successfully but to a greater degree than other film of its ilk.
Donnie Yen directors this film with surprising visual flair. The cinematography is slick with lighting that is very noir-ish in nature. Yen utilizes different color filters and shifts to B&W occasionally to formulate a distinct mood that reflects the situation of the scene or the emotions of the characters.
The editing, admittedly, is slightly rough. During action scenes this adds a feeling of gritter intensity, but during dramatic and emotional scenes, the editing can be jarring.
Yen, being an action legend, does not disappoint in the film's action sequences. He carefully choreographs gun fights that are balletic and poetic in nature. The most notable scene is a sequence within the apartment where Yen and a hit-man shoot at one another at extreme close ranges, encircling a sofa and sliding along the ground in effortless motion.
The acting, however, is a mixed bag. The performances of the Yen and his female captors are near perfect. The relationship between the two is entirely believable and we become involved with them, investing our own emotions into the film.
However, some supporting characters do give rather over the top performances, such as the two villains near the end of the film. Fortuantely, there isn't a high degree of theses occurrences so we are able to forgive them of these mistakes.
The narrative is rather typical of the genre, yet it is told in a fresh way. The artistry of the visuals really add depth to the standard story and the strong character development makes what would have been flat characters into full bodied, three dimensional figures.
The narrative does, however, have issues of coherency. The film often presses too hard for aesthetic scenes rather than scenes which are story driven which creates some moments of confusion, though the attentive viewer will easily be able to place the events together.
In conclusion, this is one of the better thrillers to come out of Hong Kong. It is a fine example of the Heroic Bloodshed and should be viewed by anyone remotely interested in the genre or Asian thrillers in general. For the average film viewer, however, I would suggest a rental or, better yet, see some of the classic examples of the genre such as "The Killer" or "Hard Boiled". If you like those films, then give this a try.
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