Romeo Must Die - (DVD)
Starring Aaliyah et al
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They've got the weapons. They've got the posses. And they've got no chance against former Hong Kong cop Han Sing. Gravity-warping martial arts, cool visual effects and an all-star music track combine in this revved-up action movie from producer Joel Silver (The Matrix) and starring Jet Li (Lethal Weapon 4) in his first english-language lead role. Li plays rough-and-ready Han, who shares an attraction with Trish O'Day (screen-debuting songstress Aaliyah) even though their families are rivals in a fierce Oakland turf battle. The two also share plenty of danger as they try to find the real cause of the blood feud. No gun, no posse? No problem. With Jet Li going to war as only ha can, Romeo Must Die is alive and kicking.
Steve, . 27 March 2003
ROMEO MUST DIE
A film review by Steve Rhodes
Copyright 2000 Steve Rhodes
Opera. For some people, watching opera with its silly and simplistic plot can be excruciatingly painful. Aficionados, on the other hand, are swept up in the majesty of the music and the visuals and could care less about plausibility or any lack of depth in the storyline.
So it is with Andrzej Bartkowiak's ROMEO MUST DIE, a film with only a tenuous relationship to the Bard's famous romantic tragedy. For viewers who can't get enough martial arts action and who dig the latest hip hop music, ROMEO MUST DIE may be just their cup of tea. Like a music video for MTV as directed by Quentin Tarantino, the movie is built of surface pleasures only. There are no characters, just stick figures. The minimal plot tries to blend elements of THE GODFATHER into a mixture of ghetto action picture and Hong Kong martial arts.
When we meet Han Sing (Jet Li), he has just learned that his brother has been murdered. Summoning up all of his powers, he fights his way out of the maximum security prison in which has been staying. Like the Energizer bunny, but better looking, martial-arts action star Li is an unstoppable force against his enemies. With boundless charisma, but regretfully none of Jackie Chan's humor, Li commands attention -- something that the rest of the movie fails to do.
Two large crime families, an African-American one headed by Isaak (Delroy Lindo) and an Asian-American one led by Ch'u Sing (Henry O), are in the midst of a big deal when the death occurs. The Asians suspect the blacks, and Han wants revenge.
The movie is filled with GODFATHER references. "I'm working on a deal, a really big deal. And, if it goes through, everything we do will be legit," Isaak tells his son in dialog lifted straight from Michael Corleone's mouth. And, just in case, anyone should miss the point that ROMEO MUST DIE wants to be taken as an African/Asian-American GODFATHER, Simon (rhymes with Hyman) Roth is the duplicitous leader of the whites with whom they are in cahoots in the story's big deal.
Among the movie's more ludicrous aspects is the way it is supposedly set in Oakland, but the terrain features large Canadian mountains.
One of the better sequences, a nicely choreographed car chase, could be used as an effective commercial about the advantages of anti-lock brakes.
Along with all of the traditional scenes of buildings exploding, people being mowed down by gunfire and more fights that you can count, the movie adds something new to the mixture. When Han breaks someone's bones, the effects are not left to the sound person alone. In addition to the sound of breaking bones, the movie uses computer graphics like an perhaps, but at least it's original, a commodity generally lacking in the rest of the picture.
ROMEO MUST DIE runs 1:58, too long for this martial arts extravaganza. The film is rated R for violence, some language and brief nudity and would be acceptable for older teenagers.
brad, South Africa. 30 October 2016
jet Li is brilliant awesome action
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