Kiss of the Dragon (2001)
An intelligence officer who was betrayed has to prove his innocence when he is accused in a deadly conspiracy. He gets help from a prostitute, to whom he has to grant a favour in return for her help.
Director: Chris Nahon
Writers: Jet Li (story), Luc Besson (screenplay)
Stars: Jet Li, Bridget Fonda, Tchéky Karyo
Easily one of the most breathtaking of martial arts stories told in a Western, modern, urban setting, Kiss of the Dragon (2001) is directed by Chris Nahon and written and produced by French filmmaker Luc Besson.
For demanding martial arts fans, Jet Li is obligingly explosive in a non-stop, visceral blitzkrieg set against the backdrop of an international conspiracy.
Li, who developed the story for this film, is his silent and simmering best and provides heart stopping action [...]
Ignoring all the thugs given a sound thrashing, viewer interest rests with the main trio of characters: the brutal and corrupt Inspector Jean-Pierre Richard (Tcheky Karyo), the drug addict and prostitute Jessica Kamen (Bridget Fonda) who is also a desperate mother at her wit’s end and Liu Siu-jian (Jet Li).
Liu is a Chinese intelligence agent known for his fierce integrity and fighting skills. He is alone in Paris, framed for murder and battling the mafia and corrupt cops. Jessica is the other outsider who becomes a key witness, but is boxed in by the Inspector who holds her daughter captive.
The scene where Li stumbles into a large room where martial artists are training and is forced to fight ALL of them is a brilliant modern-day tribute to a similar scene where Bruce Lee fights many in the classic, Fist of Fury (1972).
Only one or two scenes used CGI/wire work - a testimony to Li's incredible screen presence and skill. Director Nahon had to slow down Li in some scenes as he was moving too fast for the camera to record at normal speed.
Li, who developed the story for this film, is his silent and simmering best and provides heart stopping action in settings far removed from his legendary Chinese folk hero roles as Master Wong Fei Hung.
Apart from the brilliant action sequences choreographed by action director, Cory Yuen, and the elegant look and feel of the film, the unlikely bonding between Liu and Jessica provides the emotional core of the film.