FIST-FOOT MARATHON: Kiss of the Dragon (2001)

Kiss of the Dragon

Tcheky_karyo_kiss_of_the_dragon_001Kissofd1Kiss-the-dragon-8Jet

July 6, 2001 (US Release)
August 1, 2001 (French Release)
Directed by: Chris Nahon, whose also directed the movies, Empire of the Wolves and Blood: The Last Vampire


Who you’ll recognize:
Jet Li (FearlessFist of LegendThe One), Bridget Fonda (The Godfather IIIPoint of no ReturnJackie Brown).




What’s all this about? 

There was a certain amount of buzz surrounding this movie. I’m not talking Oscar-buzz forJet Li or anyone else involved here. What generated a lot of anticipation for this film release was the action scenes of course; in terms of making them less “fantastic”. Fans of Jet Li had been clamoring for their movie-star to star in a movie where the fighting felt “real” and more “grounded” than the typical superhuman feats they had become bored with. Their wish was granted, and what we as the audience get is a film that helped usher in an era of “stylized,   
phenomenal, yet grounded” take on martial art films. Ironically enough, Jet Li was a big part of continuing this popular take on shooting fight scenes in this manner. The style of most of the 90s fighting style, especially in America where martial arts isn’t heavily practice; was rough, messy, and “over-the-top” gun play. The new wave of action flicks, kept a decent percentage of that style. It also mixed in a large batch of mixed martial arts, and some fascination with the different ways to damage or manipulate the human body and mind. In fact, the name of this film derives from a certain forbidden technique involving jabbing needles into sensitive part of the body.
The film itself deals with a story that feels familiar, but is not often used as the main plot. A Chinese cop is sent to France to bring back a culprit, and ends up being framed for his murder, along with the murder of a prostitute. After his frame, he runs into another prostitute, who was there that night of his being framed. The story is essentially the two of them trying to escape the clutches of a corrupt inspector and his squadron of French cops. The deal the Chinese cop makes with the prostitute, is that he’ll get her daughter back; and she’ll testify against the corrupt police officials and there involvement in the conspiracy against the Chinese cop. The end result was a very anti-climatic thud, but the movie sort of switches between a “dead sprint” of a pace into more of a nervous jog. The players on screen are better seen as opposed to being heard. As if the first paragraph of the article didn’t hint at already, the action sequences were the stronger points of the film; and dominated most of the runtime. Good move, Mr. Chris Nahon; director of a cool, gritty action film.

The American whose scenes are were badly written:

Bridget Fonda. In a matter of about 15-20 minutes of screen time; we’re suppose to believe she not only understands Jet Li’s drive, but is right in condemning him for being too dedicated to his job. What the hell?

Jet Li’s cop truly has nothing to live for:


You wanna know a sure-fire way to get out of writing depth for your main character? Make it so that he has no wife, kids, girlfriends, real aspirations, or interests other than the current mission. Also make it so that he has no where to really run other than the “sleeper” whose hidden within the city. Aside that he has the heart of a lion (or Dragon), Jet Li’s character is a blank, boring slate. It sorta waters down the film, when the audience isn’t allowed to connect with the hero of the story. My suggestion would have been to rewrite the film from Bridget Fonda’s character’s perspective, that way Li’s character works. His basic purpose is to be a tool, let’s focus on the people who has use of the tool. The villain and the Bridget Fonda prostitute (very incompetent one at that).




Recommended?
Sure. On Netflix.

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