Kiss of the Dragon (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Jet Li plays a Chinese law enforcement official in France. He is framed by a crooked Parisian police captain who is also the local drug lord and pimp. (A strong combination of professions). Li's only chance to prove his innocence is an American streetwalker who witnessed the incident in question, but she won't testify against the drug lord cop because Captain Druglord is holding her daughter as insurance against that very possibility. Therefore Li has to rescue the kid in order to get mom's help.


Amazingly enough, Luc Besson wrote this brain-dead script which consists mainly of fight and chase scenes. Luckily, Jet Li is tremendous at fight scenes, and the filmmakers decided to eschew the fancy wire-work of The Matrix or Crouching Tiger in favor of straight normal-gravity scenes. Don't think this means that they decided to go the length of the film without silly gimmicks. Li has a little packet of needles attached to his wrists. No, this is not for emergency sewing repairs on his black belt, but the incredibly top secret acupuncture techniques known only to those at the highest levels of study. With one or two needles, he can stop any pain, kill anyone with or without pain, induce orgasms, enlarge your penis one to three inches without surgery, cure migraines, control your appetite, or instantly give you the ability to play the harpsichord. He can even employ the double top secret method which makes your blood reverse flow and your head explode. I didn't make that last one up. He can really do that.

He needs that last method eventually, when he meets up with Captain Druglord, because it all boils down to Li and the hooker against thousands of Paris cops and thugs with automatic weapons blazing. The Cap's favorite trick is blasting away with his own weapons into Paris crowds, apparently in the hope that one of the dead will be the Jetmeister. This film may set the record for deaths by innocent bystanders.


Bridget Fonda's aureola escapes from her top in a scene where she has her head in the commode.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1

  • full-length commentary from Fonda, Li, and the director

  • featurettes on the fight scenes

Li and Fonda do their best to bring some credibility to this crazy quilt of action scenes. In fact Li is kind of an interesting character, kind of little boy shy until he needs to snap into action, then all choreographed violence. Tcheky Karyo isn't realistic, but is suitably evil as the Drug lord. Unfortunately, the plot and dialogue are laughable, so ultimately your opinion of this film will rest on whether you enjoy Jet Li's fight scenes through all the famous Paris landmarks. While he is either running or kungfuing, we see Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the glass-walled sightseeing/dinner cruises, most of the famous bridges, the sewer system, the Metro  ... you get the picture. If you really get into hand to hand combat scenes, this film has lots of good ones, and Li even brings some realism into them (he gets tired, he bleeds, he gets hurt). If not, pass.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4, Apollo 72/100, BBC 4/5, 4/5

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDB readers say 6.5 of 10
  • with their dollars ... a moderate success $36 million domestic gross (2100 screens), versus a $25 million budget. Will break even for the studio or better after other revenues.


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C. Solid action film or martial arts film. However, there is no crossover appeal. Those who think martial arts films are dumb will find this one as dumb as usual.

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