Donnie Yen directs and stars in this stylish thriller as Cat, a hit man who has entered into a kind of mid-life crisis. Prone to contemplating life in between hits. Cat seems to vacillate ...
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Donnie Yen directs and stars in this stylish thriller as Cat, a hit man who has entered into a kind of mid-life crisis. Prone to contemplating life in between hits. Cat seems to vacillate between throwing himself into his work and running away to Australia. However, his life gets more complicated when he falls in love with a beautiful policewoman.
Having done his part as an action director, or uncredited director, in many films since the start of his career, the great Donnie Yen made a point of becoming a serious director around the late 90's, launching with the fantastic Legend Of The Wolf. It was a great debut, though not without its flaws, and following that came this and Shanghai Affairs a year later!
With beautiful cinematography by Wong Ka Fai, Ballistic Kiss is an art-house, martial arts thriller. Its important to know that before watching, as fans of Yen's work (both before and after SPL) may find it somewhat disappointing. It doesn't have explosive, powerhouse fight scenes every few minutes (although they do come about), nor does it have insane stunts and cop chases like his Yuen Woo PIng directed vehicles did. Instead, the Kiss has style, with stylish Hong Kong action - almost as if Wong Kar Wai had directed The Killer...
Donnie still gets to throw some amazing moves, and we get a good dose of gun-fu, but while it is far from being as amazing as the John Woo classic, Ballistic Kiss still makes for a damn good movie, and an important piece in Donnie's career. Although Bey Logan's script could have been refined somewhat, Yen works with what he has and delivers on the action and his performance in the role of a hitman with a heart, who falls for his hostage, played by the lovely Annie Wu.
Packed with visual flair and keeping a steady pace, Ballistic Kiss is accompanied by a memorable score that reminded me of a Studio Ghibli movie, some beautifully lit shots, and a great cast. Donnie's Shanghai Affairs co-star, the great Yu Rong Kwong, appears briefly for a great shoot-out against Yen, and it was nice to see big Mike Woods pop up for a bit in what would be his last role in a Hong Kong movie.
Overall: Heroic bloodshed at its most stylish, and an underrated Yen flick, Ballistic Kiss is pretty damn good and shows Donnie in a one-time-only role that doesn't disappoint!
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