Romeo Must Die

Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Jet Li, Aaliyah, Isaiah Washington

Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak

I would hate to describe ROMEO MUST DIE as a ‘kung-fu’ movie because of genre images this may create in your mind of fighters making impossible leaps into the air backwards, only to be suspended there for half the film, but there is a lot of kung-fu happening here only it’s cleverly performed and doesn’t stretch the imagination too far.

Rivalry between two crime syndicates, one black, one Chinese, leads to the death of the Chinese crime boss’ younger son Po. The other son Han (Jet Li), escapes from prison back in Hong Kong and arrives in America to avenge his brother’s death. Coincidence leads him to hook up with the daughter of the black crime boss, Aaliyah and together they attempt to find out what’s really going on.

ROMEO MUST DIE is a good action movie with some humorous moments and excellent fight sequences featuring Jet Li’s kung-fu talents. Although this is undoubtedly supposed to be a vehicle for jet Li, and he is very good, his female lead Aaliyah also comes across very well and could easily transfer from her singing career to doing more acting.

The inevitable comparisons between Jet Li and Jackie Chan are also going to be drawn, but Jackie Chan has his own comic brand of martial arts action carefully etched out, whereas Jet Li is more reminiscent of Bruce Lee’s style.

An enjoyable movie with a distinctive gangster rap soundtrack, that works well with the film.

4 out of 6 stars

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