Kiss of the DragonJuly 6, 2001
A betrayed intelligence officer enlists the aid of a prostitute to prove his innocence from a deadly conspiracy while returning a favor to her.
Release Year: 2001
Rating: 6.4/10 (29,592 voted)
Critic's Score: 58/100
Stars: Jet Li, Bridget Fonda, Tchéky Karyo
Liu Jian, a police officer from China, comes to Paris to help the vice squad apprehend a Chinese drug lord and his unknown French connection. The French connection is Richard, the head of the vice squad, who intends to kill the drug lord then frame Jian. Jian ducks a bullet and escapes with a tape of what really happened. By chance, Jian turns to Jessica – a US farm girl who is one of Richard's hookers – for help. She has her own problems, including the fact that Richard has her daughter locked in an orphanage to keep Jessica on the streets and silent about his activities. Can Jian protect Jessica, rescue her daughter, and give Richard the kiss of the dragon?
Writers: Jet Li, Luc Besson
Hito no koroshikata shika wakaranakatta [Japan]
Release Date: 6 July 2001
Filming Locations: Bateaux Mouches, Seine River, Paris, France
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $13,304,027
(8 July 2001)
(14 October 2001)
Did You Know?
There are only seven wires used in the entire movie.
When Liu escapes the boat and jump under the bridge, he quickly join a metro platform. The name that can be seen on the wall is "Invalides". When Liu enters the metro train the name can still be seen, but when the metro train leaves the station, the other station name boards on the wall display "Porte des Lilas". (The scene was actually shot in the former "Porte des Lilas" metro station that is now dedicated for the shooting of films. The Director forgot to ask the staff to change all the station name boards to "Invalides".)
[Richard with a gun to Isabel's head]
Wait! You're making a big mistake.
In the second it takes you to kill her, I will have all the time I need to kill you…
A Martial Arts Action Film Done Right
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.