by Adam Riske
• Best Scene/Moment: The climax of Kiss of the Dragon is pretty terrific. First, Jet Li beats up a dojo full of blackbelts, then he goes up against identical twin henchmen (so much broken glass), and ultimately has a boss fight with Tcheky Karyo that’s capped with Li telling Karyo what the “Kiss of the Dragon” poison he injected him with is going to do to him. It’s unpleasant.
• Best Food: Jet Li’s character hides out for part of the movie in a Chinese restaurant that makes shrimp chips. There’s a scene where Bridget Fonda eats a bunch of them with rice and it made me hungry.
• Best Song: This was an easy choice – “Lapdance” by N.E.R.D.; great fight scene music and the band rules.
• Director Check: Kiss of the Dragon was directed by Chris Nahon ,who IMDB writes is a “noted French commercial and music video director.” Kiss of the Dragon was his feature directorial debut, followed by a few films I haven’t seen – 2005’s Empire of the Wolves, 2008’s Blood: The Last Vampire, and 2016’s Lady Bloodfight. I’m surprised he didn’t make more Hollywood action movies after Kiss of the Dragon. He knows what he’s doing.
• Year 2001 Movies to Trailer Before It: Exit Wounds, Rush Hour 2, Shaolin Soccer
• Draft Day or Kiss of the Dragon? Draft Day
• Grab Bag Video:
Here’s a junket interview from the time of the film’s release. Jet Li seems like a nice dude. It’s interesting that he made Kiss of the Dragon in part because his fans contacted him on his website saying the fight scenes in Romeo Must Die sucked in comparison to his older films (I still like Romeo Must Die).
• Mall Movie? Yes, martial arts movies are almost always mall movies.
• Only in 2001: A woman dressed like a geisha (?) doing a strip tease to Mystikal’s “Shake Ya Ass.”
• Scene Stealer (tie): Bridget Fonda and Tcheky Karyo.
• I Miss: Bridget Fonda.
• I Don’t Miss: The era (era) where many actresses had to play a stripper or prostitute at some point in their career.
• 2001 Crush: A woman dressed like a geisha (?) doing a strip tease to Mystikal’s “Shake Ya Ass.”
• 2021 Crush: Bridget Fonda.
• What I Think in 2021: I love it. Kiss of the Dragon has aged very well. This time I was surprised how much I liked Bridget Fonda’s performance. She imbues the film with heart, which makes the action sequences in the second half more effective. I miss these early 2000s action movies that were martial arts/hip-hop Venn diagrams. This is still my favorite Jet Li movie.