Romeo Must Die

Dir: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Star: Jet Li, Aaliyah, Isaiah Washington, Russell Wong

"You killed my brudda....BIG MISTAKE".... or "I've Got a Big Hose"... I keep mulling around those titles in my head, thinking of maybe writing the marketing company who released this movie at Warner Bros, and offering my thoughts of a new title for this new movie starring Li as a really honest convict (a "conviction" in terms, hahaha), who comes to America to avenge his "brudda's" death brought on by rivalries between the Chinese overlords in their quest for power against the other gang, who is trying to "go straight". Yeah...whatever. {Yawn}.

Really, I tried to like this movie. I like Jet Li and that face he always makes when he's seriously pissed off, plus he actually speaks a lot of English in this film. I tried to get into it and was mildly entertained by the fight scenes, one in particular involving a Chinese Overlord henchwoman fighting against Jet Li, who refused to hit a woman, so he uses the romantic relief girl as a fighting weapon against this chick. Kind of a cat fight that would have worked, but was over way too quickly.

Brought to you by a guy who has a vast history in cinematography and filmography (Lethal Weapon 4, Dante's Peak, Falling Down, Prizzi's Honor just to name a few), but very little directing experience, the writers Mitchel Kapner and Eric Bernt have only three screenplays between them, including this one. Let's just say I was trying to like it, but inbetween the action, the storyline was so lame, so predictable, so "I've seen it a million times before", it just didn't cut it. And when are they going to learn that it's totally stupid to kill everyone without blinking an eye, then keep the hero alive so you can tell him everything just before you die for killing his brother? I keep thinking that Hollywood must perceive the movie going public as seriously WEE-TAH-DED, so much so, that they have to stop everything to explain things to us that are more than obvious.

I do have to say that I liked the blending of X-Rays of the people's bone structure as Jet Li would break something so that you had a bird's eye view of just how much damage he did internally to the bad guys. Very "Ricky-O"-ish and the sounds of the bones breaking were cool. But that does not a good movie make. Russell Wong was his casual, cool self, bordering on the mildly amused till he got pissed off. Guess when that was? At the big fight climax we all knew was coming eventually. Unfortunately, there were huge lags between the action and it was all quite boring and predictable. Rivalries, betrayal, greed, power struggle, kids hate their fathers.. yada yada yada.. A bit disappointing for his first fully-fledged starring film in Hollywood. I'm still mulling over the title. There was a tiny, vague (too ridiculous to be really it) reference as to why it was titled as such. I was digging deeper, but maybe it was as simple as that, considering the standards of the rest of the film.

Chris Fata
North American Ambassador
Trash City Magazine
email:[email protected]

Romeo is bleeding
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