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Overall Rating
2.45

Awesome: 11.54%
Worth A Look: 14.42%
Just Average: 18.27%
Pretty Crappy: 19.23%
Sucks36.54%

7 reviews, 62 user ratings


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Romeo Must Die
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by Erik Childress

"Jet Li Sells Out Magic of Action Scenes"
2 stars

Romeo Must Die (* ½) (Out of 4) – Romeo Must Die bills itself as an update of Shakespeare’s classic romantic tragedy – albeit with a lot of kicking. However, I have trouble remembering Romeo’s big prison break or the King of Cats knocking off land owners for the Capulets. Truth is the latest martial arts actioner owes about as much to Romeo and Juliet as Strange Brew does to Hamlet.

The hero’s name isn’t even Romeo and the love interest isn’t Juliet. But they do belong to rival families and that’s where the similarities end in Jet Li’s latest return-to-hero status, a film promised to him by Joel Silver if he played the villain in the much more entertaining Lethal Weapon 4. Jet Li plays the son of an Asian gang leader who kicks his way out of prison to investigate the murder of his brother. While stealing a cab he ends up giving a ride to the daughter (rap star Aaliyah) of the rival gang leader (Delroy Lindo, bringing a level of dignity to the proceedings) and begins to form a relationship with her that is never fleshed out or believable. The daughter is constantly followed around by the most annoying character of the movie, a chubby dim-witted bodyguard whose only purpose is to laugh at his own bad jokes and then get his ass kicked as often as possible. In any action film, the comic relief is usually a good guy or even a bad guy who redeems himself in the end by helping the good guy. In Romeo Must Die, for most of the film I was unsure of whom I was supposed to be rooting for. This is a little disconcerting when Jet Li is kicking everyone in sight and since he is obviously the hero – is everyone a bad guy? After the film was over, I was shocked to discover that eight fight sequences took place during the running time. The reason I was shocked was that the only thing I remember about any of the fights was that some of Jet Li’s moves were enhanced. Jackie Chan always makes the point of letting us know that he does everything, even proving it by showing the stunts that go wrong during the end credits. If the special effects involved in making Jet Li suspend in mid-air while walking on wooden beams and kicking five guys were good enough, maybe I wouldn’t be making such a fuss. But his moves are so fake during a number of fights that he looks like the Keystone Kops on speed. This isn’t The Matrix where there was a reason the characters could defy gravity and even Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne trained to make the fight sequences as authentic as possible. A martial arts picture with the aid of strings is like the magician giving away his best tricks, so what’s special about Romeo Must Die? The answer to that is absolutely nothing. The action is less than thrilling with some annoying X-ray vision moments to put us inside the body when a spine cracks. The characters are generic and have nothing to do with Shakespeare. I appreciate a complex story in an action film, but killing off business owners to buy land for a new football stadium? This even parallels to a ridiculous football/action scene where Jet Li admits to know nothing about American football – yet spins the football on its tip upon scoring a touchdown.

Modern updates of classic works can be an interesting viewing to view the liberties taken by the filmmakers with the new project. Too much is attempted during Romeo Must Die, but all of it fails leaving the audience seeing nothing accomplished and yearning for a Jackie Chan film, dubbed or not.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1953&reviewer=198
originally posted: 03/29/00 18:52:49
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User Comments

7/26/11 Ronin Not that bad but only thanks to Jet Li. 3 stars
7/04/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess The fights were the only good thing about it 2 stars
8/14/08 Shaun Wallner The Action was Amazing! 5 stars
6/04/06 William Goss Decent action not nearly enough to salvage it. Oh, when I say it ain't Shakespeare... 2 stars
4/01/06 Peter De La Rosa Jet and Aliahah are all this has going for it. 3 stars
1/31/06 Ronin Could be better, but certainly not THAT BAD! 3 stars
8/27/05 Rever_Bear-Trap Not too bad... One of Li's better American films! 4 stars
7/22/05 ct to me it was good.its not that bad 4 stars
3/12/05 Clooney is ugly I don't remember it being that bad 3 stars
4/06/04 grace it was fantastique 4 stars
12/11/03 D'ANTE TREVON FRYMAN I LOVE IT 5 stars
7/05/03 Jack Sommersby Clunky, overedited action and bland characters. A real stinker. 1 stars
7/04/03 lee cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/20/03 jacksona damm! this movie is tha best movie I have seen damm! it was kool, awesome, tight, the best! 5 stars
10/22/02 palaboy101 Watch it to see Aaliyah. Otherwise, rent The One or Kiss Of The Dragon instead. 3 stars
4/13/02 Dom Corleone Incredibly bad 1 stars
2/01/02 Andrew Carden Other Then A Few Good Fight Scenes, The Movie Suffers From A Flimsy Storyline. 2 stars
12/09/01 Tam Shit storyline & mediocre screenplay. You'd be better entertained by picking your nose. 1 stars
10/31/01 ?? they all look like they're not amused ANY TIME IN THE FILM 3 stars
9/27/01 faurgabriel very good 3 stars
9/04/01 Butterbean Empty film, but great action. R.I.P Aaliyah! 3 stars
8/03/01 sarah It was action packed & love the funky music 4 stars
7/11/01 kaylea russell wong is gorg and its such a cool film yeah 5 stars
4/15/01 Tam Put me to sleep. Predictable storyline, unbelievable special effects. Great soundtrack tho 1 stars
3/25/01 Sid 6.7 A ho-hum Jet Li actioner that substitutes his panache for pitiful special effects 1 stars
3/18/01 Bruce Good movie, bad title 4 stars
2/14/01 CJ O' Callaghan this film really pissed me off- its the same old shit 2 stars
12/25/00 Piotr Only thing that iritated me was the hollywood slow-mo (bs) fist of legend still rules 4 stars
12/02/00 tom calder it is the best movie i have seem in my life 5 stars
11/16/00 Miranda Lee This film is WICKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/03/00 The Extreaminizer I only watched an hour of it............Joel Silver's stuff rules, but what happened? 1 stars
8/30/00 Dan B. A Chinese hit-man fighting a disco afro haired DJ. Gimme a break! 1 stars
6/14/00 FREDDIE UM not as good as i excpected 1 stars
6/12/00 MR joel harwood A bit dodgy 1 stars
6/05/00 MATTHEW MYLAN A GOOD STORY LINE, BUT LACKING GOOD ACTION SCENES. 4 stars
5/15/00 MR joel harwood ROMEO AND JULIET + BORIN PARTS + SICK SPECIAL EFFECTS = ROMEO MUST DIE 4 stars
5/01/00 mop Expect Jet Li to kick the most ass and everything else to be silly and you'll like it. 4 stars
4/24/00 John Lyons Not a bad movie if you don't expect a lot. 4 stars
4/19/00 TRC_872 Average story, Same great Jet Li! Fist Of Legend is better though 4 stars
4/17/00 MAD DOG the moves may look fake but the movie rocks 5 stars
4/10/00 kohawk hel-lo? All of a sudden, w/ no warning, jetli can defy fucking gravity?? How absurd!? 2 stars
4/07/00 Willie Marshment I wish the karate guy would have dropped his pants and showed his crankshaft!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/06/00 nootch Cable fight scenes are classic and look cool. This was better than any Jackie Chan flick! 4 stars
4/05/00 jonj what a crapfest 1 stars
4/01/00 Captain Highcrime Holy moly massa, where all the white people go? 2 stars
3/31/00 Mr Happy The movie got crappy after the brief Asian nipple flashing. 1 stars
3/30/00 Angel Rei ugh.....i was drug to this film not expecting much and let me tell you, i wasnt let down. 2 stars
3/30/00 sol The fight scenes are _supposed to_ look fake. It's classic HK/Cantonese martial arts. 3 stars
3/29/00 Tony C. Jet Li is great - in "Once Upon A Time In China" 1 stars
3/29/00 Wez The biggest piece of crap since Supernova came out a couple months ago! Pure CRAP! 1 stars
3/29/00 amy r. dawson jet li rocks. 5 stars
3/29/00 malcolm Aaliyah was very good. check Li's Chinese films for much better kung fu action. 3 stars
3/26/00 m.b. slow paced at times, but overall cool. Aaliyah's the bomb! 4 stars
3/25/00 Piz Worth a look for Li's action, but there could've been more considering the feeble script 3 stars
3/24/00 Shawn Burden Piece of Shit! 1 stars
3/24/00 Drano Check out "Fist of Legend" Jet Li is excellent 3 stars
3/24/00 mrenwick YAAAWWNNNN...Li's Hong Kong flicks are 400 times better than this derivative crap. 2 stars
3/23/00 TimmyToday Everyone is Kung-Fu Fighting!! 4 stars
3/23/00 Pedro Sancho The best action movie ever 5 stars
3/23/00 Justine Briggs Kind of dumb, but I thought Aaliyah was very good. 3 stars
3/23/00 Laura It was a little reminicent of the Street Fighter movies (with the x-ray vision and all) 4 stars
3/18/00 mvayding "The most action packed film I have ever seen!" 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Mar-2000 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  11-May-2000 (MA)




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