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[Short Reviews]

KISS OF THE DRAGON

Artfully directed by first-timer Chris Nahon and filled with some jaw-dropping fight scenes, Kiss of the Dragon is a thinking manís action flick. Or would be if it gave you that much to think about ó the storyline is little more than an organizing principle for Jet Liís hyper-complex routines. Heís Liu Jian, a secret agent sent to Paris by the Chinese government to intercept a drug kingpin. Wouldnít you know, the French cop heading the two nationsí cooperative effort makes a move for the goods, pinning the whole thing on Jian. The guy is also a svengali who keeps Bridget Fondaís hayseed hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold doped up and walking the streets while holding her daughter under lock and key.

This is clearly a situation that must be remedied, and Jian does so with stunning ingenuity. Itís not just the number of bad guys he puts away, itís the variety of implements he uses to do so: a pool ball, hot irons, chopsticks, and, finally, an acupuncture needle. A lot of the dialogue is delivered so clumsily as to sound like dubbed-over Cantonese, but between some gorgeously atmospheric Parisian scenes and Liís blitzkrieg assault, this film is no kissoff.

By Mike Miliard

Issue Date: July 5-12,2001