With personal crises and age weighing in on them, LAPD officers Riggs and Murtaugh must contend with deadly Chinese triads that are trying to free their former leaders out of prison and onto American soil.
In this modern day Romeo and Juliet, kung fu action star Jet Li plays Romeo to hip-hop singer, Aaliyah Haughton's Juliet. Li is an ex-cop investigating the murder of his brother, who had ties with the Chinese mafia in America. Aaliyah plays the daughter of the American mob boss. Neither side approves of their romance, so, obviously, kung fu action ensues, with a soundtrack by Aaliyah. Written by
Pugnax the Great <email@example.com>
I must say right off the bat that I was very disappointed with this movie. Jet Li is one of the most amazing fighters to ever hit the silver screen, with credentials (in martial arts, not acting) that rival the late great Bruce Lee and easily surpass Jackie Chan. He can do things with his body that I can't even do in my dreams.
Having said that, I sat through this movie wondering to myself, "Why did they feel the need to CGI enhance these fight scenes?" He can do amazing things by himself! By inexplicably making him jump 30 feet in the air while kicking in 9 directions at once, they serve only to discredit his true athletic ability. And not only did they meddle with his fighting talent, but they did it so poorly. The tampered scenes are very obvious, with more visible seams than a tailor shop. Granted, the x-ray effects were a welcome change, but that was about all this movie had to offer in terms of fresh ideas.
The plot is drawn out at great lengths, with fight scenes a little too few and far between for my tastes. Also, I felt the black gangsters were over-developed, while the asian gangsters were under-developed (Russell Wong's character is barely on the screen for 10 minutes of the movie, while Isiah Washington's incessant melodrama drowns out a good portion of the flick).
I think most of the problem comes from the over-ambitious screenplay. The premise is a good one: asian mafia versus black gangsters. However, there are two roads this premise could have taken. Either A) they could have turned it into a hardcore action pic about gang violence, with lots of guns, fighting, double crossing, etc., or B) they could have made a romantic tragedy focusing on the struggles between the two lovers because of their opposite backgrounds. This movie strives desperately to do both, but the end result is that neither aspect is fully explored, leaving a mediocre-at-best storyline for the cast to work with.
So, on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd have to give this movie about a 4. It had a lot of promise, and I was hoping to see Jet Li showcased to his full potential, but it appears that his ship has yet to come.
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