Kiss of the Dragon (2001) Poster

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Extraordinary Martial Arts Film
teuthis2 November 2002
The action scenes in "Kiss of the Dragon" are outstanding. The skill of the players, and their direction is nonpareil. One doesn't see any of the little scenes where two or three fighters are jumping up and down waiting for their cues. Pay attention to the fight scene in the police training room. I think its the best I've seen. A trademark of Jet Li films seems to be a display of the highest quality martial arts. His skills, and those of his antagonists, provide detailed and polished confrontations that are simply thrilling. And I love those needles!

The pace of the film is excellent too. The action just keeps coming. There is just enough talking and character interaction to keep the plot alive and well. Bridget Fonda manages well in a role I think was not really designed for her. She is one of those actors who always finds her character and makes it work.

The film is violent, to be sure. And the bad guys are the worst. Their blatant, public methods are almost too much to believe. Still, the pace of the action leaves one little time to ponder details. One element I wish the director had left out is Jet Li dodging about a thousand rounds of full auto gunfire. Everyone seems compelled to shoot such scenes, but two guns raking rounds across the hotel lobby could not possibly miss. It is virtually enfilade fire, and no one could get through that. Otherwise, the firearms action was believable and thrilling to watch.

Even the music, though not my style, seems to work well with the action. The director puts it all together in a wild ride I can recommend to any action film fan.
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A Martial Arts Action Film Done Right
dynagirl30 June 2001
Liu Jian (aka "Johnny") is a top level cop from Bejing on temporary assignment in Paris to aid French police in a sting operation to take down a Chinese heroine kingpin. But things go bad and a double-cross ensues, leaving Liu Jian framed for murder and running for his life. One is thing certain, though, our hero won't be taken without a fight... a really good fight... and a few more after that. Luc Besson's screenplay isn't exactly creative, but given the genre, it's pretty darn good. I know I sure sighed with relief that Liu Jian (played with subtle excellence by Jet Li) wasn't driven by some emotionally haunting past, like the death of a wife and child, as is so typical in super-cop action films. In fact, we get just the opposite--a man who simply loves his job and does it very well, but is still human enough to make mistakes, feel pain and make realistic choices (well, mostly).

The story isn't without its flaws, however. Mindless thugs do play their part and there is an utterance of the most over-used villain line of all time: "Bring him to me alive; I'll deal with him myself" (or something to that affect). But somehow, it doesn't sound quite so corny coming from actor Tcheky Karyo (as Inspector Jean-Pierre Richard), who manages to play the heartless villain with a great deal of intelligence. Rounding out the cast is Bridget Fonda's Jessica, the prostitute with a good heart and, yes, a young daughter in jeopardy. But despite its few formulaic shortcomings, Kiss of the Dragon still delivers.

What really stands out in this film is the way the fight sequences flow with the rest of the story, unlike so many other movies that seem to be constructed around a few preconceived action scenes. It's a martial arts action film done right. Thanks to the superb direction of Chris Nahon, Kiss of the Dragon is classy, well paced and gives us a near perfect blend of drama and levity (no ridiculous one-liners here, but definitely some laughs along the way). Best of all, Nahon engages the audience and makes the story work to a reasonable level of believability.
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Terrific Modern Action Movie
CuriosityKilledShawn27 June 2004
Kiss of the Dragon is a hyperactive martial arts movie with a heavy European feel. After Jet Li's fans were left disappointed with the fake, CGI-enhanced fighting in Romeo Must Die he decided to go back to practical, hand-to-hand combat with literally no strings attached. KOTD is the perfect excuse for action, with minimal plot and impossible odds.

Basically, Jet Li plays a Chinese cop Lui Jian who travels to Paris to help the police bring a crime boss to justice. But the French police just happen to be heavily, heavily corrupt and kill Mr. Big, framing Lui Jian in the process.

Keen to stay alive, Lui Jian flees the scene, but not before screaming, mad and completely hat stand police inspector Richard (Tcheky Caryo in his typically delirious role) sends just about every hardened police psycho after him. Outrageously outnumbered, Lui Jian prevails and fights his way through swarms and swarms of thugs out for his blood. Using only his hands and feet (and any useful nearby tool) he manages to wipe them all out.

Far-fetched it may be, but action choreographer Cory Yuen shoots it all in the most realistic and stylish way. You really will believe Lui Jian is capable of such an impossible feat, that's how realistic the action is. And all without glamorising guns.

KOTD uses the rule of increasingly mad set-pieces. The first desperate escape through the corridors and passageways of the hotel, the death-defying escape from the Seine Barge and through the tunnels and sewers, the orphanage confrontation and (especially) the final scene in the police station where Lui Jian takes on a dojo full of martial artist police officers, evil twins and finally Inspector Richard. It's all breathtaking stuff and very, very violent. With far too many sanitised PG-13 minded 'action' movies abundant these days KOTD is a breath of hardcore fresh air.

If you like this then I suggest checking out The Transporter. It may be slightly tamer but it's made by the same people (producer Luc Besson, Writer Robert Mark Kamen and Cory Yuen) and is also set in France, only with a warmer, more exotic look.

The DVD is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with a great Dolby 5.1 soundtrack. There are some extras and a commentary if you're into that sort of thing.
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Not Your Normal Martial Arts Fare
ccthemovieman-115 July 2006
I expect most of these Hong Kong martial-arts films to be packed with action but most feature either a little humor (Jackie Chan) or beautiful scenery ("Hero," etc.) or wild special effects ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and more).....but this one features a mean edge. I'm not used to seeing these Asian films with a lot of profanity (mainly f-words) or bloody scenes almost to the point of being gross, which one scene was in here.

The hero is likable guy played by Jet Li. Despite his martial arts penchant for violence, he has a soft, boyish look to him and doesn't seem to fit the type. He's always the gentleman in here, with no profanity either. The villains, led by Tchecky Karyo, are brutal. Bridget Fonda, playing a hooker, at least wasn't some "Pretty Woman" type figure. She was rough, too, but at least realistic and I give her credit for not worrying about how she looked in here, beauty-wise.

I don't regret seeing this film. It was entertaining, but beware: it's a rough movie.
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Very good action movie
krsudars7 July 2001
This is definitely Jet Li's best action movie since he came over from Hong Kong. Some scenes reminiscent of Fist of Legend in this one. Quite well choreographed fight scenes with good realistic violence a la Bruce Lee. The plot is rather formulaic, as is much of the dialogue (I expected better from Besson), but the movie has a bit of the 'Nikita' flair (guys going crazy with fully automatic weapons in public places). A bit too much talking and not enough fighting, but far superior to 'Romeo Must Die'. The use of no wires is also a very nice touch. Best action movie of this summer so far. (8/10)
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This is a great action movie that will take you to the ‘point' of no return.
Old Joe20 November 2002
‘Kiss of the Dragon' might be just another ‘action/martial arts' movie that is sitting on the shelf of your local video store. However once you start to watch it, you will realise that like some of its characters, it is a movie that is very deceptive and will leave you breathless. With the screenplay based on the story written by star Jet Li himself, this film has moments that no-one could ever comprehend seeing. While Li might be criticised for being ‘one dimensional' in his movie roles, it has to be said that he is one of the best martial arts actors going around at the present time.

Liu, a Chinese intelligence officer, goes to Paris on assignment and becomes embroiled in a deadly conspiracy. When the man he has come to help betrays him, he is forced on the run, accused of a murder he didn't commit. He teams up with Jessica, an American woman forced into prostitution against her will, who wants to escape and seek justice. As Jessica and Liu go up against cunning and ruthless adversaries, Liu makes a promise to Jessica that could compromise his career, even his life.

The star of this film is Liu (Jet Li), who is an expert Chinese cop sent to stop an international drug conspiracy. He is traveling to the city of Paris for the first time, making it totally alien to him. Liu carries only a gun and needles which are rapt around his wrist. These are acupuncture needles, which he has the skill to use, to help heal his friends or kill his enemies. The finale action sequence has Liu refer to the title of the film, whereby the use of a needle technique called ‘Kiss of the Dragon', which is highly illegal, as it must be, which can disrupt the body's blood flow, making all the blood travel to the head and then killing the person as it tries to escape from whatever cavity it can. This scene was astonishing to see being played out.

The supporting cast in ‘Kiss of the dragon' consists of Jessica (beauty Bridget Fonda), a girl who is forced to take drugs and be a prostitute by French Police inspector Richard (Tcheky Karyo). You do not refuse Richard, as the consequences could be fatal. He has many henchmen that are on the lookout for ‘John' (Liu), as he has the evidence that could destroy Richard. Along the way Jessica meets up with Liu and they help each other out of sticky situations that have arisen. I enjoy the role taken on by Fonda a lot, as her character gives the story its emotion and balance whereby she helps Liu get around Paris.

I like how and where this movie was presented. The director shows off Paris in many ways, such as landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, which is cleverly incorporated through a fighting sequence. The director Chris Nahon was able to do this, via producer and screenwriter Luc Besson's help in getting leading cinematographer Thierry Arbogast, who did some great work. While the story might be simple on the surface, who can complain when there is such great action scenes to compensate.

This then leads me into ‘Kiss of the dragon's' action and stunts which are exhilarating. Li's character has many fighting sequences that you would believe he has no hope of winning. The start of the film makes uncertain of what is going to happen, then in the blink of an eye you are presented with action and stunts that will leave you speechless. The one scene at the start which shows Liu slamming a billiard ball to kill a villain was unbelievable. Then the fighting scenes at the shop, boat, office building and orphanage are full-on, making them intoxicating to the viewers. However one of the final fighting scenes with Liu taking on a whole class of Black belts is hilarious, as you know he is going to win.

‘Kiss of the Dragon' works, because where the story is lacking, the action and fighting scenes take up the slack. Jet Li has done some good movies, such as `Lethal Weapon 4' and ‘Romeo Must Die' where he shows off all his martial art skills. If you have not seen him in either of those films, then watch them by all means. Finally, I want to mention that I have had many treatments of acupuncture in 2002 which have helped me immensely. However, when I have my next treatment of those ‘little needles' I might squirm a bit, being quick to remember what Liu could do with an acupuncture needle.

CMRS gives ‘Kiss of the Dragon': 4 (Very Good Film)
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Breathtaking as well as interesting art martial movie with violent combats , thrills and professionally shot
ma-cortes3 December 2014
The picture is full of tumultuous sequences with frenetic action , surprises , fierce combats and groundbreaking struggles . Classic as well as impressive Chop-Socky in which wild fighting scenes provide an overwhelming view of Jet Li skills . It has lots of fights , as well staged as Jet Li's Hong Kong films . It is set in Paris where a betrayed intelligence officer (Jet Li) enlists the aid of a prostitute (Bridget Fonda) to prove his innocence from a deadly conspiracy while returning a favor to her . Li against time to clear his name and rescue a junkie whore and her daughter . When the secret mission goes wrong he is framed for murder by a nasty as well and amusing villain officer , Insp. Richard (Tchéky Karyo) ; as the Chinese agent will face off a bunch of heinous henchmen across threatening streets of Paris . Then Li has to go on the run pursued by corrupt cops , being his only ally the mistreated call-girl and an old Chinese shopkeeper (Bur Kwouk) .

This moving Chop-Socky displays drama , action-packed , thrills , and wild fighting images . It is an action-filled and violent film , being utterly filmed in Paris . Li shows awesome skills , as he hits , punches and kicks most of Paris hoodlums into tiny pieces . The battle scenes are sliced up by means of flashy quick cuts that sometimes reduce Jet Li's extraordinary athleticism to a little more than the backdrop to a video clip . An exciting art martial movie in which , once again , an oriental Chinesse super cop is sent loan to tackle crime in the West . The style of action in this movie was heavily influenced by comments made during series of messages posted by fans on the Jet Li website forum , immediately after the release of Romeo must die (2000) in the United States , the fans wanted more realistic fighting as in Jet Li's movie Jet Li's Fist of Legend (1994) . The rousing fights include deadly use of fists , feet and palms ; being perfectly staged by expert Corey Yeun . Fights , attacks and exciting combats very well staged by great fighters , in fact , here are only seven wires used in the entire movie, the only scenes involving wire work were when Jet Li had to jump up to kick the pool ball and when Cyril Raffaelli performs his one-and-a-quarter backwards somersault-kick ; the result is a strong entry for art martial buffs . Actors made their owns stunts ; some of the players got injured and to had to be hospitalized during the shooting , some of them suffered mild concussions during filming, after being struck several times during fighting scenes . The only scenes that used CGI are when Jet Li falls down the laundry drop with CG flames surrounding him and in the hotel scene when Jet Li kicks the ball from the pool table . Amid the glamour and grandeur of the scenarios , including luxury hotel , is developed an intrigue about women exploitation and dealing with a Chinese agent who attempts to restore his name .

Colorful and luxurious cinematography by Thierry Arbogast . Adequate musical score fitting to action by Craig Armstrong . This moving film was lavishly co-produced and written by the great producer/director Luc Besson and well realized by Chris Nahon . Director Chris Nahon had to slow down the fight scene between Jet Li and Cyril Raffaelli because they were moving too fast for the camera. Filmmaker Nahon establishes his signature style of kinetically-paced story-telling through sumptuous imagery , leading to international critical acclaim . Chris Nahon was born in France , he is a good director and writer, known for Empire of the wolves (2005) , Blood: the last vampire (2009) and Kiss of the dragon (2001) . Rating : Better than average art martial movie . Worthwhile watching .
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Bruce Lee nostalgia
laszlodas24 July 2001
I was hoping this movie to be better than 'Romeo Must Die' and I was not disappointed. I truly believe this is Jet Li's English coming out movie (too bad it was released in the summer when other bigger movies come out).

I did not go to see the movie for the story line and those who don't won't be disappointed either. The action was great especially the final scenes. Bridget Fonda did not do much (found her irritating in some scenes) but then again, did not watch the movie because she was there.

Believable, maybe not ... Jet Li as the new Bruce Lee, most definitely!

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For this kind of movie, this is good stuff. *** (out of four)
Movie-1219 July 2001
KISS OF THE DRAGON / (2001) *** (out of four)

By Blake French:

I admire "Kiss of the Dragon" because it's a wake-up call to the increasingly desperate genre of martial arts action movies. After disasters like "Romeo Must Die" and any recent Jackie Chan production, my expectations for "Kiss of the Dragon" were not exactly sky high. It seems as if every movie like this replaces a story and characters with silly special effects and high-tech action sequences involving martial arts fighting. Here, there are solid, visible characters and an involving story. That's a real accomplishment these days.

Jet Li starred in 25 successful Asian films before making his debut in America as the villain in the lackluster "Lethal Weapon 4." His last film, "Romeo Must Die," was a pitiful action extravaganza that borrowed elements from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Before this film, I could not stand this martial artist turned actor. Here, he makes a strong name for himself. He co-produces the film, stars in it, and created the original story. According the production notes, Li initially envisioned a dramatic film that combined his trademark martial arts and action heroics with strong, recognizable characters.

"I wasn't interested in making a movie about a big action hero who saves the day," explains Li. "My character, Liu Jiuan, is one of China's best agents, with tremendous abilities in martial arts and acupuncture. He's determined and driven. But he's not a superman; he's human. When his mission goes wrong, Liu initially doesn't know how to handle things."

Liu Jiuan is the most skilled law enforcer in China brought to Paris on a top secret mission where he must assist an unorthodox police official named Richard (Tcheky Karyo) in dealings involving some off the record drug traffic. His mission goes awry and he quickly learns that Richard, who seemingly has a limitless supply of henchmen, is the villainous mastermind behind most of the crime in France. Liu becomes trapped in a dangerous conspiracy-Richard frames him for a murder he tried to stop. Liu also becomes involved with a local American woman named Jessica (Bridget Fonda), who was forced into prostitution when Richard kidnapped her child.

The story feels real, instead of a clothesline for countless gratuitous action sequences. There are plenty of action sequences, however, and the fighting does not involve wires, phony stunts, or computer generated effects like in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," and "The Matrix." The fights are grounded and real. "We went back to the basics," explains Jet Li, "keeping the fighting simple and based more in reality." Liu's principle fighting weapons are not guns or swords, but acupuncture needles, which play an important role in the mysterious "kiss of the dragon" revealed at the movie's climax.

"Kiss of the Dragon" is directed by French commercial director Chris Nohan in his feature film debut. He does a good job of involving the audience in the action, and distracting us from some of the film's weaknesses. But no director could conceal some of the bad writing, terrible dialogue, unanswered questions, plausible motives, and stereotypical character traits. "Kiss of the Dragon" is not a great movie, but for Jet Li, this is good stuff nonetheless.
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Forget the kiss, this is kick of the dragon.
hitchcockthelegend15 March 2010
What do you want from a Jet Li movie? By the time of Kiss Of The Dragon being released, many of his fans had been vociferous about how his film's were losing realism in the fight scenes. Here, teaming up with Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen in the writing room, Li himself set about readdressing the balance for American produced martial artistry. The result is of course a preposterous plot that should duly have been expected, but without doubt for action fans this is a real high kicker that delivers thrill after thrill as Li beats up Paris.

The plot simply sees Li as Chinese intelligence agent Liu Siu-jian who is sent to Paris to aid in the apprehension of a Chinese drug lord. Things go belly up when corrupt cops led by Insp. Richard {Tchéky Karyo} wipe out the target and frame Liu Siu-jian for the murder. But he ain't going to take it on the chin. So with the help of prostitute witness Jessica Kamen (Bridget Fonda), he sets about clearing his name whilst perhaps helping Jessica get her life back on track too. Cue the odd couple forming a tender relationship as they shift from one death defying encounter to another.

The action on offer here is excellently put together, there's minimal CGI and even less wire work involved. This is stunts and martial artistry produced by a master craftsman. From a unique use of a snooker ball to an exhilarating smack down with a class of martial arts students, and on to a tag team scrap with the blonde twins, this has enough biff and bam to fill the Louvre itself. Li is on fire, not only one of the toughest guys on the planet, but also one of the coolest. While Fonda is hugely touching in a stereotypical role and Karyo continues to be one of the best psycho actors in the new millennium.

Flaws and plot holes here? Of course. Does it matter in a buttock kicking action movie? Course not. 7.5/10
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Jet Li's best English language film
a_chinn21 October 2017
This film was released to pretty dreadful reviews, but I always felt it was Jet Li's best English language film. "Romeo is Bleeding" is also quite good, but Li has a story credit on this one and the script was written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, the schlocky team behind enjoyably cartoony action films like the Transporter and Taken franchises. Both of those series are entertaining semi-serious action/revenge nonsense, and that is pretty much what "Kiss of the Dragon" is as well. Li plays a Chinese police office going to Paris to arrest a Chinese drug lord, but finds himself framed by dirty French cops. Li goes on the run, but with help from prostitute Bridget Fonda, to crack the drug ring. The story isn't really all that great, like most Besson pictures ("Leon" being the main exception), but the action is terrific (Li's regulars collaborator Corey Yuen was the martial arts choreographer on this film). Besides Li being an amazing martial artist, which is the main reason to watch this film, Fonda is quite good in what is her second to last theatrical film performance before retiring from acting. This movie made me miss her. Fonda was never Meryl Steep, but she was always very likable and genuine in her films, whether it was a silly action flick like "Point of No Return," a rom-com like "It Could Happen to You," or an indie like "Scandal," she was always good. Besides Fonda, you also have the reliably good Ric Young as the slimy drug lord and Burt "Cato from The Pink Panther" Kwouk in a small role. As with most Besson productions, this is slickly made if empty headed entertainment, but Li (with aid from Corey Yuen) and a good performance by Fonda, manage to elevate this above Besson's usual output.
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Often too violent and some scenes really arent credible, but still a very enjoyable Kung Fu Fighting Flick.
imseeg13 May 2018
Jet Li produced this movie together with Luc Besson. Director/Producer Luc Besson is known for his love for violence. Fortunately that violence is often portrayed in a cartoon like fashion, which makes the violent scenes bearable and even funny. However this time the violence sometimes is just too gross, unfit for a movie like this. Not suited for those beneath 16 years of age. The story of a violent chief of police isnt credible either in the violent way it is portrayed here. So it doenst serve any purpose besides shock value. That is my only criticism of this kung fu fight movie, besides some other flaws in the story that just arent believable either. It could have been much better, with less gross violence and a bit more credibility in the story. Now it barely rises above a good B movie.

Still I really enjoyed it. And don't get me wrong, the kung fu fighting scenes are excellent! It is just a few other violent scenes that are distasteful. But enough said about the violence, let's talk about the wonderful performance of the lovely Bridget Fonda, in her second to last role of her carreer. She is to die for in her role as a prostitute who comes to the aid of a chinese cop played by Jet Li. Together they have to bring down a corrupt chief of police who runs a prostitute organisation. Not that the story matters much, it is just a contineous fighting barrage intertwined with exciting chases. Although there are lots of pauses, which gives the characters of Jet Li and Bridget Fonda time to interact with eachother. Their acting really makes this movie rise far above the average kung fu movie.

Summarizing: the story has some flaws which make the sum total fall flat a bit. Still very enjoyable. I will wanna see it again. 7 stars. Could have been 8 stars though with a more credible story...
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Probably one of Jet li's best!
varghesejunior15 November 2012
I really loved this movie...It's even better than Romeo must die.

Story is about a China Cop who is sent to France to find a heroin smuggler with the help of french police but soon gets implicated in the murder of the criminal by the corrupt Frenchmen who themselves are part of a crime syndicate involving drugs , murder and flesh trade.

The story by Jet li is really good, the action sequences are awesome and show Jet li in his best ever performances, fast moving and active yet humble and simple.

The film is fast-paced and thrilling, and will keep you at the edge of your seat for 1.5 hours Watch won't regret it.
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Average plot, a bit talky but the action is great and it is one of Li's best films outside of Hong Kong thus far
bob the moo26 September 2004
As part of an international case, Chinese police officer Liu Jian comes to France to assist his opposite number in a sting operation. However, Richard turns out to be on the wrong side of the law and frames Liu for the murder of several key people in the case. Liu goes on the run with evidence that he didn't commit the crimes, with only the word of an innocent prostitute to back him up. With even the Chinese embassy unable to bring Liu in, he is forced to try and expose the corruption and take the fight to them.

With so many of Jet Li's American movies being pretty messy disappointments, it was no surprise that I just gave this a miss when it came out at the cinema and never got round to seeing it on video. However on television the only thing I am wasting is my own time (not money) so I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised to find that, though not comparable to his best films, Kiss of the Dragon is easily one of the best films that he has made outside of Hong Kong. The plot may have been made up by Li and turned to a script by Luc Besson but it does come off as a bit obvious and overblown. At times the dialogue is a bit heavy and there are a few moments where the film is a bit talky for a bit long without any of it coming to a great deal but mostly it is pretty enjoyable. It is not a great story but there is enough to engage even if it is pretty poor in some ways – the whole coincidence around Liu meeting Jessica again was a bit shoddily done but the detail is not that important in this sort of film.

No, what is important is the quality of the action and here it is a lot better than his recent films such as Romeo or Cradle. The action scenes are scattered a bit thin around the film at times but generally they are enjoyable sequences which are pretty exciting and fluid. The film is refreshingly free of flying and wiring work, lending the fight scenes a more realistic (!?) and brutal air. Not only are the fight scenes good but the mix of the usual action movie 'guns n' running' stuff is also well handled with some pretty fast scenes.

The cast are pretty good even if the international mix of actors all in Paris is a bit strange. Li is natural and pretty good – I have always maintained he is a good actor (or at least a charismatic leading man) but most American movies have forced him to be silent and posturing to match the gangbanging story. Here he plays a good character as well as being given plenty of good fights to show how technically able he is. Fonda is OK even if she is a strange casting decision for this character; she does well enough but at times I could have accepted less of her as she is the reason for a lot of the talky stuff that could have been scaled back. Karyo just simply hams it up so much that it would have been possible to actually glaze him at some points near the end. He is effectively bad and it works but he is on auto-pilot for a lot of this. The support cast are all OK, although some of Li's sparring partners are obviously not that good at acting (the white twins are good examples) but fans of Harry Hill or the Pink Panther will find much amusement from the minor role given to Burt Kwouk!

Overall this is a good film in its own right but, compared to Li's other American films so far, this is by far the best. The plot is pretty run of the mill but still engages but some parts of the film are a bit too talky for no real reason. The fight scenes are pretty brutal and are better for not overdosing on wire-fu stuff and my only complaint about them was that there could have been a few more. Of course, this doesn't really compare to the best of Li's Hong Kong material but it is still much better than the rest of his American stuff and is worth a look for fans of martial arts action.
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Jet Li at his best!
tarbosh2200026 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Liu Jian (Jet Li) travels to Paris from his native China to stop a drug kingpin and get to the bottom of his illegal doings in France. A top cop in his home country, Liu utilizes his amazing Martial Arts abilities to bring the baddies to justice. But he meets his match in the super-evil Richard (Karyo), who commands an army of goons, who in turn keep a stable of his prostitutes - all the while leading a double life as the head of the Vice Squad in Paris. As Liu tries to keep his bearings while in this foreign land, fighting Richard's goons at every turn, he reluctantly teams up with one of his prostitutes, Jessica (Fonda) in the search for answers. It seems Richard is keeping Jessica's daughter locked in an orphanage as leverage so she won't spill the beans on his many, many illegal activities. His criminal empire seemed impenetrable...but he never had to contend with Liu Jian! Will justice be served, and will Jessica get her daughter back? Find out today...

Kiss of the Dragon is fast-paced fun, with a lot of the typically-excellent Martial Arts Jet Li is known for. It has a lot of lively, quick fights and is loaded with very impressive stunts. It's all very cool and slick. It has a nice, professional look and has tons of action - as well as a likable hero and a very evil baddie. Just those things alone put it head and shoulders above a lot of other movies of this kind. There is minimal CGI and wirework - it's mostly all-real fights (with a couple of exceptions, of course). We appreciated the idea of Liu's "acupuncture bracelet", and the fact that he has some knock-down, drag-out fights with guys that resemble Street Fighter characters Guile and Balrog. The Guile guy is even seen reading a "Where's Waldo?" book at one point. We know this came out in 2001, but if that's not 90's, we don't know what is.

Of course, all of this is highly reminiscent of The Replacement Killers (1998) of a few years previously. While that was a Hollywood vehicle for Chow Yun-Fat, this is for Jet Li. Instead of teaming up with Mira Sorvino, here it's Bridget Fonda, and instead of Jurgen Prochnow as the baddie, here it's Karyo. Needless to say, if you liked one, you will like the other. We also welcomed the fact that it was really Paris we were seeing, not Bulgaria masquerading as Paris, or some green-screen fakery. Nowhere was this more evident than on the boat fight scene, which is clearly on the Seine, and you cannot fake what they did. Maybe we've watched too many Seagal movies, but we loved the change of scenery.

As with Contract Killer (1998), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), and Romeo Must Die (2000), the filmmakers have decided to pair Jet Li with rap beats. In this case we have not one, but TWO songs by Mystikal. While it certainly places the movie in a particular time period, we kind of wish it wasn't Mystikal. What, were Jadakiss and Silkk tha Shocker songs unavailable? Also, it should be noted that Richard, the bad guy, is so evil, he keeps a turtle in his desk drawer. Another thing we noticed was that in the scene where Liu and Jessica go to the orphanage, the floor and room number where the daughter can be found is "B13". District B13 (2004) is also a France-set Martial Arts extravaganza, and a Luc Besson production. This must have some significance to him. It was just a little thing we noticed.

Kiss of the Dragon is an entertaining ride that is well worth watching. The great Jet Li is in top form and a pleasant time will be had by all who view it.
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If You Love Kung Fu Fight Scenes...
susan-31728 March 2015
This is one of those guilty pleasure movies for me. Jet Li is a stranger in Paris, arriving to right some wrongs. The movie presents some wonderful fight scenes with Jet Li. I especially love the battles with the "twins", two look-alike bodyguards.

The beautiful Bridget Fonda, a truly underrated actress, stars as a woman who has been victimized and forced into prostitution. And though this movie came out in 2001, US police forces are just now receiving training to identify similar victims of sex slavery.

The movie's title is referenced in almost the final scene but is well worth the wait. Gosh, it is fun!
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One to remember
whoTheFuqRyou3 June 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I had heard mixed bag comments about this movie and finally my boy had it on DVD so I gave it a shot. I was very surprised by the moderate gore in this - it's pretty painfully disgusting to watch sometimes but it's not like that's a bad thing. Jet Li shows us why he is one of the most well-respected action stars as well as a pure martial artist. On top of that, the role fits him and no one else - besides I get a blast out his nonchalance accompanied w/ his fighting skills. Bridget Fonda, who I haven't seen in a while, turns in a good performance as a prostitute who is blown off then befriended by Li's character. The fight scenes in this were great and I swear I couldn't stop laughing when Jet Li kicked the p*** out of one of the twins(killing him) and left him still kneeling w/ his head turned, that was absolutely priceless!!! This is by far Jet Li's best in America

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A Fun Jet Li Action Flick
ultimatenexus8 August 2014
Jet Li faces off against the French police in this silly martial arts action flick, brought to us by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. The plot, where Jet Li's character, Chinese intelligence officer Liu Jian, is betrayed by Inspector Richard of the French police, who don't really operate like any police force I've ever seen... more like a mob of some sorts. They even have their own prostitution ring, and there don't seem to be any consequences for the innocent people that get caught in the crossfire of their gunfights. But Liu, whilst escaping the hotel where he's been framed for murdering a Chinese drug lord, manages to grab enough evidence to prove his innocence on a cassette tape. Richard wants that cassette, and he's willing to do anything to get it back and silence Liu. While that's going on, Liu also becomes acquainted with a prostitute played by Bridget Fonda named Jessica, whose daughter is held by Richard as a form of leverage.

Well, the plot is stupid and makes no sense. In a city like Paris, no law enforcement agency would get away with the carnage Richard and his men dish out in their attempts to catch Liu, but that's besides the point. It's a silly, one man army action movie dedicated to Jet Li fans who wanted to see more realistic fight scenes, and that is what we fans get. It's violent and it's fun, and it's a satisfying actioner that requires suspension of disbelief.

Suspend and enjoy, my friends.
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One of Jet Li's better English language vehicles
dworldeater12 September 2020
I just watched Kiss Of The Dragon after not watching this for decades. I have a slightly better opinion of it than I had originally. Granted for story or character development, Kiss Of The Dragon falls a bit flat. However, this gets an A+ for action and it still is a step up and a better movie than Romeo Must Die. Jet Li is in top form here and he showcases his fighting skills well to western audiences with Kiss Of The Dragon. Corey Yuen does a fantastic job at putting together these elaborate and highly entertaining fight sequences together that are mostly devoid of wirework or CGI. The movie as a whole is fairly predictable with some pretty lame villains and heavies. However, the tone of the film is very serious and Jet has great screen presence and charisma to carry this. To say this pales to measure up to most of his (until more recent work) in Chinese cinema may be true. But this is far from his worst. The fights and action are worth the price of admission and make it easy to overlook the film's flaws.
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( French B+ Movie) My Ratings 9/10
Muhammad_Rafeeq10 March 2020
And once again the fan score is a better indicator than the critics' score. Totally enjoyed this movie. This is one of the better martial arts action flicks ever made. Jet Li is amazing, as usual. The bad guy is evil incarnate, and Bridget Fonda provides a nice touch of humanism to the action. Think of James Bond meeting Bruce Lee with the bad guy from The Professional and you have something akin to Kiss of the Dragon.
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Superb Action Drama
devilsadvocate-7080513 June 2019
I rate movies based simply on how compelled I am to watch until the end. I think this is the most honest way to review a movie. There is alot of pretentious drivel that gets a 7-8 here that I will switch off before 30 minutes and rate a 1-3.

Kiss of the Dragon is extraordinarily compelling and keeps me interested from the first until the last scene across half a dozen or more viewings. It hits all the right notes; the actions scenes are great, the story is involving, the music and cast is fantastic. I love to see Jet Li as the impetuous professional; I think it's his best role and the melding of cultures here with the chinese kung fu complimented by the french aesthetic with the American gangster rap is creative and compliments eachother wonderfully.

I have watched it half a dozen times and never been compelled to forward through a scene. This reality places Kiss Of The Dragon in rare territory, only occupied by the likes of Terminator 2 and Aliens.

When you try to break down a movie into what makes it good, bad or special, we are prone to error and bias. This movie doesn't have amazing special effects, it doesn't have the greatest action sequences, it doesn't have the highest budget. Nonetheless it belongs in the highest tier of movie-making simply because it is one of the very few movies I can watch over and over and enjoy every scene.

It isn't a perfect movie, but it is close. Some minor cast members could be improved upon, some of the action sequences could be cut better. This is why it only gets a 9.

This is not a 6.7 movie as IMDB rates it. Too many people are judging it by the sum of its parts rather than how involved they are when watching it. This is a rare and unique movie that deserves much more respect and exposure. 9/10.
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The laundry chute scene is worth the price of admission alone
safenoe12 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
If you're looking for plot, catch a Jane Austin flick. If you're looking for pure escapism and incredible action, then Kiss of the Dragon is right up your alley, big time.

This is the first Jet Li movie I've seen, and I was not disappointed. I think it's the only second Bridget Fonda movie I've seen (the first was Single White Female), and she and Jet make a great and formidable team. The action scenes are absolutely incredible and for the most part, done without wires. The laundry chute scene was awesome and gruesome, but hey, that's to be expected when you cross swords with Jet Li. The blood-soaked half-torso capped off the scene quite nicely. Seeing Jet swinging the French flag at the end was amazing.

One funny comment from the French bad buy when he referred to a "kimono and wig" to find Jet. Jet's Chinese but I guess the French have difficult distinguishing the Chinese from the Japanese, just as some Chinese would have difficulty telling the difference between Germans and French if you know what I mean.
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Brutal, Bone-Crushing, and Ultra-Violent...One of Jet Li's Best
LeonLouisRicci16 October 2014
Martial Arts Movie for Action Fans with Jet Li in Hyperdrive and the Carnage Never Stops. This is Comic-Book Stuff with Our (Super) Hero Displaying Powers Absent in Mortal Men. It is All Ramped Up, Over the Top, Very Violent, and the Movie Takes No Prisoners.

Luc Besson from Behind the Scenes Delivers, Along with His Superstar Jet Li, an Action Movie that Pulls No Punches and is a Ride-Along of Ridiculous Fight Scenes that are Always a Hoot for Fans of this Type of Stuff. There is Plenty of Bang for the Buck.

The French Detective can go a Few Beats too Far Pushing His Subordinates Around and Bridget Fonda as the Human Anchor Whore with a Heart of Gold and a Cute as a Button Daughter in Tow, May be at Least One Beat too Good to be True, but there had to be Something to Pause the Mayhem. She Does, but Only a Brief Pause and We're Back to Kicking Ass.

Overall, with Very Little Wire Work, Jet Li Fans can File Back in Lock Step, and Action Movie Adrenaline Types will have Very Little to Gripe About. It is Nonsensical, Bone Crushing, Bloodletting with its Heart Buried Beneath the Brutality, but it is Pumping the Pathos Enough to Allow Some Humanity to Contrast the Otherwise Inhuman Villains.

No Compromises Here, this is One that Delivers what it is Selling in an Ultra-Stylistic Ballet of Blood, Bone Snapping, and Bullets and it is One of Jet Li's Best.
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Why we need a 243rd review
A_Different_Drummer24 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
At the time of this writing, I can see that 242 IMDb users have already taken time off their busy schedules to review this film. That number is a significant multiple of the number of professional reviewers who opined on this production in first run! Which raises the question, why another review? Answers are as follows: 1. The IMDb averaged rating is not merely a little wrong, it is crazy wrong. This is one of the most coherent martial arts films ever done. It stars Jet Li. Legendary wildman Luc Besson is behind the typewriter. The under-utilized Bridget Fonda single-handedly carries the female portion of the film, and does a great job. Several of the fight scenes are as carefully conceived and choreographed as anything Bruce Lee ever attempted. (See the "twins" scene). 2. The script works, I mean it REALLY works. The idea of a lone agent from China seems a bit stretched, until you realize that, if China were to send a lone gun, it would likely be Jet Li. The double-cross works because, you figure, if anyone understands French cops, it would be Besson. The kidnapping works. The fight scene with the pool balls works. The bickering between Li and Fonda at the noodle shop works. The acupuncture angle works. The ending is fantastic. Do you see where this is going? The hallmark of a really good film is that you can watch it from beginning to end and remain engaged. This story delivers. 3. I have explained in my other reviews that I have seen too many martial films in my lifetime. I am no longer sure if I could pass an ink blot test, I would probably think the ink blots were trying to kill each other. This is especially true after my recent review of KILTRO (also done for IMDb). I think I lost brain cells watching that. But this I do know: KISS is my second-favorite martial arts film, ever, (The first is Forbidden Kingdom, also reviewed here). If this is not a near-perfect film within its class, nothing is.
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"I don't sell shrimp chips."
bensonmum213 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Liu Jian (Jet Li) is a Chinese policeman sent to France to help with the apprehension of big-time Chinese drug lord. But Jian is quickly double-crossed and finds himself on the run having been accused of murder. The one person who may be able to help him is a drug-addicted prostitute whose child is being held hostage by the same man who set-up Jian - and he's a high-ranking French policeman. Jian and the prostitute make for an unlikely pair, but they'll have to work together to make things right.

As an action movie, Kiss of the Dragon gets several things right. Both Jet Li and Bridget Fonda are more than capable of pulling off this kind of movie. Li, in particular, is exceptionally good showing the moves that have made him an internationally acclaimed martial arts star. He does a lot of different moves in the movie but my particular favorite is a quick one involving a pool ball that he sends flying with a well placed foot. Unfortunately, beyond the two stars and a wickedly evil performance by Tchéky Karyo, the rest of the movie is pretty average. It's one action/martial arts cliché after then next with the child being held hostage the icing on the cake. The only action standard the movie fails to include is letting the male and female leads fall in love with each other. And I'm glad because that would have really ruined the movie. As it is, Kiss of the Dragon is a harmless enough time waster that may lack creativity, but benefits from the presence of Jet Li.
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