Romeo Must Die (2000)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Martial Arts, Odd Couple Film  |   Release Date - Mar 22, 2000 (USA)  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Karl Williams

Although a cut above the standard entry in its genre, Romeo Must Die is essentially a B-grade martial arts picture with arty pretensions. Cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak, in his directorial debut, skillfully photographs the proceedings, but the script, loosely cribbed from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, doesn't have much fun with its literary roots, adhering to the basic outlines of the classic love story without creative embellishment. Action star Jet Li provides the expected athletic thrills, leaving his martial arts talent in little doubt. More problematic is Li's struggle with the English language and his dour, unchanging expression, which doesn't bode well for his future as a leading man. While believing itself to be something more, Romeo Must Die is a pre-programmed offering that's strictly for martial arts fans only.