Kiss of the Dragon (2001)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Martial Arts  |   Release Date - Jul 6, 2001 (USA)  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - France , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Right from the amalgam of kung-fu catchwords that make up its title, Kiss of the Dragon is a cliched and forgettable international mystery with plenty of kicks, but no kick. As with the movies of Jackie Chan, the main task in a Jet Li film is to choreograph the fight scenes around interesting props and settings, but Li redirecting a pool ball into an enemy's face is the only memorable use of the star's badass moves. The others just strain credibility, as when he happens upon a karate class being taught inside the police precinct he's invading, and must dispatch each of the weapon-clad students before continuing on his way. The Parisian setting does little to spice up the proceedings, having more to do with the involvement of producer/screenwriter Luc Besson than any real reason for Li to be there. Li tones down his usual anti-hero scowl, while still getting at least one good opportunity to deliver the kind of ominous warning to an opponent that pops up hilariously in each of his films. Bridget Fonda is totally out of her element as the requisite "whore with a heart of gold" transplanted from her home in the midwest of the United States, who only wants her daughter back. Tcheky Karyo is a monstrous caricature as the pitiless villain, and the plot is nonstop stupidity. Not that Li's fans would or should care about any of this. They'll show up for the fighting, and for the most part, they won't be disappointed.