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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> April 2002 >> Kiss of the Dragon

Kiss of the Dragon

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
3 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
April 2002
IMDB Name:
Kiss of the Dragon (2001)
Chris Nahon
action, martial-arts
MPAA Rating:
R for strong violence, language, some sexuality and drug content.

Somewhat Professional

Luc Besson's name pops up in the credits for Kiss of the Dragon. This film is not too far removed from his 1994 effort, Léon, also known as The Professional. There is a stoic, foreign violence expert, the local who helps him, a corrupt cop, and a girl with a heart of gold but who knows too much. The key difference on the surface is that Jet Li's Liu Jian almost never does anything with a gun. Kiss of the Dragon loses a bit in the dynamic between the protagonists. The relationship between the too-worldly, twelve-year-old girl and the professional assassin is far more intriguing than the imported cop and the imported prostitute. That's not to say I didn't feel as sorry for Bridget Fonda's character, just that it didn't allow for the same kind of curious interplay. I also was a bit turned off by the inclusion of acupuncture in the movie, as needles tend to upset me.

This is my first experience with Jet Li. He can certainly move, as evidenced by the movie's all-too-short fight sequences. His agility and strength are on par with Jackie Chan, although their approaches to making their characters charismatic couldn't be more different. Perhaps it's the darker tone of the enemies here compared with the baddies in the Chan films that motivates Li's lack of clowning. These guys are traders in real-life evil, as opposed to the simple bullies in lighter martial-arts fare. As for the acrobatics, I was especially impressed by the bit with the pool ball, even if the director then cheated with the camera in the following shot. Since my favorite Chan moments are all comedic, I'd love to see Li try a similar style, though I don't expect that to happen any time soon.

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Copyright 2002 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.