Monday, December 26, 2005

[DVD] Romeo Must Die (2000)

I've been a fan of Jet Li's movies, but have been quite disappointed with his latest offering "Danny The Dog"/"Unleashed". While the action was great as usual, somehow the storyline isn't compelling enough. I'm still eagerly anticipating his Fearless in 2006 though, as the publicity stills so far have been promising, and it's touted as his final action movie.

Which brings me back to Romeo Must Die. It's his first feature length Hollywood film as the protagonist, after his villainous start in Lethal Weapon 4 opposite Mel Gibson. And to compensate for the lack of classic martial arts action in LW4, there are tons of wire-work/CGI laden kung fu in this movie.

The storyline's pretty decent, with a gang war between an African American gang, and a Chinese gang, in which Jet belongs to. He and Aaliyah play the offspring of their respective mob bosses, and decide to team up to discover a recent spate of killings between their gangs, as their siblings become the latest victims.

As part of the plot, we see both gangs trying to engage in legitimate business, with a crooked NFL dealer thrown into the mix. It's of little surprise that both gangs, although different in race and culture, are run in the same way - a strong figure head, ruthless second-in-commands, and bumbling assistants.

What appeals probably is the chemistry between Jet and Aaliyah. The latter was an up and coming singing starlet, but unfortunately perished in a tragic air crash. Romeo Must Die is her first movie released when she's alive (the other being Queen of the Damned), and I'd thought she would make a decent actress too. She seemed to partner Jet Li well, and looked credible in some of the action sequences.

Much of the action is stylized, meaning you know, and in a very obvious manner, that the fights all involve wires (since it's HK's Cory Yuen choreographing, and Joel Silver producing it). A pretty nifty x-ray CGI effect comes up on screen each time Jet Li breaks someone's bones. Pretty cool, and not used to often to make you sick.

It's a decent movie which will engage you, especially on a lazy weekend or holiday.

The Code 3 DVD is stocked full with special featurettes, making of documentaries, music videos, and if put into a PC, even leads you to a simple fighting game online.

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