Liu Jian, a police officer from China, comes to Paris to help the vice squad apprehend a Chinese drug lord and his unknown French connection. The French connection is Richard, the head of the vice squad, who intends to kill the drug lord then frame Jian. Jian ducks a bullet and escapes with a tape of what really happened. By chance, Jian turns to Jessica - a US farm girl who is one of Richard's hookers - for help. She has her own problems, including the fact that Richard has her daughter locked in an orphanage to keep Jessica on the streets and silent about his activities. Can Jian protect Jessica, rescue her daughter, and give Richard the kiss of the dragon? Written by
The only scenes that used CGI are when Jet Li falls down the laundry drop with CG flames surrounding him and in the hotel scene when Jet Li kicks the ball from the pool table. See more »
In the beginning when Liu Jian attempts to escape the French and breaks the door open after going down one level, he closes the glass door into the balcony. But when Richard and his men go into that room the balcony door is open. See more »
(Pharrell Williams / Chad Hugo / Malice (as Gene Thornton))
Performed by N.E.R.D. featuring Lee Harvey and Vita "Lapdance"
Published by EMI Blackwood Music Inc. o/b/o itself and Waters Of
Nazareth (BMI) / EMI April Music Inc. o/b/o itself and Chase Chad
Music (ASCAP) / Cenmare Publishing (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc. See more »
Average plot, a bit talky but the action is great and it is one of Li's best films outside of Hong Kong thus far
As part of an international case, Chinese police officer Liu Jian comes to France to assist his opposite number in a sting operation. However, Richard turns out to be on the wrong side of the law and frames Liu for the murder of several key people in the case. Liu goes on the run with evidence that he didn't commit the crimes, with only the word of an innocent prostitute to back him up. With even the Chinese embassy unable to bring Liu in, he is forced to try and expose the corruption and take the fight to them.
With so many of Jet Li's American movies being pretty messy disappointments, it was no surprise that I just gave this a miss when it came out at the cinema and never got round to seeing it on video. However on television the only thing I am wasting is my own time (not money) so I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised to find that, though not comparable to his best films, Kiss of the Dragon is easily one of the best films that he has made outside of Hong Kong. The plot may have been made up by Li and turned to a script by Luc Besson but it does come off as a bit obvious and overblown. At times the dialogue is a bit heavy and there are a few moments where the film is a bit talky for a bit long without any of it coming to a great deal but mostly it is pretty enjoyable. It is not a great story but there is enough to engage even if it is pretty poor in some ways the whole coincidence around Liu meeting Jessica again was a bit shoddily done but the detail is not that important in this sort of film.
No, what is important is the quality of the action and here it is a lot better than his recent films such as Romeo or Cradle. The action scenes are scattered a bit thin around the film at times but generally they are enjoyable sequences which are pretty exciting and fluid. The film is refreshingly free of flying and wiring work, lending the fight scenes a more realistic (!?) and brutal air. Not only are the fight scenes good but the mix of the usual action movie 'guns n' running' stuff is also well handled with some pretty fast scenes.
The cast are pretty good even if the international mix of actors all in Paris is a bit strange. Li is natural and pretty good I have always maintained he is a good actor (or at least a charismatic leading man) but most American movies have forced him to be silent and posturing to match the gangbanging story. Here he plays a good character as well as being given plenty of good fights to show how technically able he is. Fonda is OK even if she is a strange casting decision for this character; she does well enough but at times I could have accepted less of her as she is the reason for a lot of the talky stuff that could have been scaled back. Karyo just simply hams it up so much that it would have been possible to actually glaze him at some points near the end. He is effectively bad and it works but he is on auto-pilot for a lot of this. The support cast are all OK, although some of Li's sparring partners are obviously not that good at acting (the white twins are good examples) but fans of Harry Hill or the Pink Panther will find much amusement from the minor role given to Burt Kwouk!
Overall this is a good film in its own right but, compared to Li's other American films so far, this is by far the best. The plot is pretty run of the mill but still engages but some parts of the film are a bit too talky for no real reason. The fight scenes are pretty brutal and are better for not overdosing on wire-fu stuff and my only complaint about them was that there could have been a few more. Of course, this doesn't really compare to the best of Li's Hong Kong material but it is still much better than the rest of his American stuff and is worth a look for fans of martial arts action.
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