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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Not usually a fan of this type of all-out Action movie, "Romeo Must Die" knocked me off balance when I found it to be one of the best films I have ever enjoyed. Producer Joel Silver (Who also produced "The Matrix") describes the film as an "Urban rendition of Romeo and Juliet" and although this is a very simple way of looking at the film, it's not far off the mark. Like the great Shakespeare work, there are two opposing families in this film, each looking to make big commercial gains in the world of real estate development. Caught up in their lies, greed and violence are Trish O'Day (Played by Aaliyah) and Han Sing (Played by Jet Li). The story revolves around their quickly blooming relationship and the opposing families around them.
The film boasts some serious eye candy with some of the best special effects you'll see. Luckily, this is not the only good thing going for the movie as the eye candy is wonderfully supported by some fantastic performances from the cast. In her first feature movie, Aaliyah is absolutely breath taking as Trish O'Day. Showing the kind of charm and 'x' factor that few will ever have, she alone makes this film a must see. Jet Li's performance is, as always, about his skills as a martial artist but his scripted acting continues to improve. Another stand out performance for me was that of D.B. Woodside who plays Trish O'Days brother - Colin. Although not such a major role, D.B. excels in this role. High end production values mean the film has a real style and "gloss" to it and everything fits in place and the story moves along at just the right pace. In fact, "Romeo Must Die" is a shining example of how good story telling does not need to be lost in a sea of special effects and glossy American values. Jonathon Ross describes the film as "Fast, Furious, Fun", which is definitely true, but there is more to this film that the audience can take away with them. The reason the film works is that it works on two levels - storyline and action. You can enjoy both aspects and take from them what you like. This is a brilliant film and I highly recommend it.
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