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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.54%
Worth A Look: 14.42%
Average: 18.27%
Pretty Bad: 19.23%
Total Crap36.54%

7 reviews, 62 user ratings

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Romeo Must Die
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by Scott Weinberg

"Boring, silly, and also quite boring."
1 stars

Here's a simple question: WHY would you take one of the most gifted action stars alive and then use terrible special effects and WIRES to just ruin every action scene? That's like advertising a movie as an action film, but it's really just a drop-dead dull drama! (Hey wait--This movie does both!)

The title Romeo Must Die raises a few questions: Why is that the title for example? There's not ONE character named Romeo, and any connection to the Shakespeare work is minimal at best. So if we have no idea who Romeo even is, then how are we supposed to know why he "must die"? My guess is the producers just wanted an artsy sounding title. (It isn't.)

There are two warring Mafia families, one black and one Asian. (There's the only noticable connection to Shakespeare I could see: warring families. By that note, I suppose this movie could also be called "Family Feud" without losing any credibility.) The Asian boss' son gets killed, so he's angry. Then the son of the black gang is killed, so we have more anger. This combines to give us lots of rage and then about 97 minutes of just really dull scenes of unconvincing Mafioso types and fancy restaurants.

Here's the entire plot of Romeo Must Die:

Angry Black Man: "You killed _______!"

Angry Asian Man: "No..No.. We no kill _______! But you kill ________!"

Angrier Black Man: "Fuck that ________! You both killed ________! And I like rap!"

Angriest Asian Man: "I start shooting all you guys at random now."

The tedium is intermittently spoiled by the requisite action scenes. Now, these scenes are generally what we look forward to in movies like these. You won't in this movie. The kung-fu chops and air flips are completely silly and unrealistic. Someone apparently decided that Jet Li couldn't handle doing exciting action scenes, so they added a bunch of CGI effects and guys hanging on wires and things. It's really an amateurish technique. We're also treated to several looks inside the body of the guy being beaten upon, so we get to see the bone actually crack or the spine crunch, ala X-ray vision. That particular trick sounds a lot cooler than it looks in the movie.

Something specific that bothered me about the action sequences: While he's kicking lots of ass, Jet Li flies all around, bouncing off faces, and basically defying all laws of physics. Why then is there no explanation for his OBVIOUSLY superhuman skills? Is he a closet superhero? (Hell, even Big Trouble in Little China explained the freakish goings on.) Bottom Line? If the audience is giggling at the violent parts, something is wrong with your movie.

In her film debut, singer Aaliyah is just not a good actress. You tire of her character early, and that's too bad, since she's in almost every scene. Delroy Lindo shows up for a paycheck and a snack at the caterer's table. He's just playing the same guy he always does. Jet Li shows that as an actor, he's a damn good fighter.

I simply can't understand why most action movies are so action-free! There are easily 25-minute stretches in this movie where there is nary a knee-kick or face-chop. That would be fine if I were watching Terms of Endearment, but if you put Jet Li in a movie, you better let him kick a little ass.

Romeo Must Die is, to put it bluntly, an extremely BORING movie. The predictable "gang war" scenario was a cliche 40 years ago, so don't expect the plot to entertain. And since the action scenes are only almost as realistic as an episode of The Jetsons, my advice is to stay far away from this junk.

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originally posted: 04/03/00 17:58:54
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User Comments

7/27/11 Ronin Not that bad but only thanks to Jet Li. 3 stars
7/05/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess The fights were the only good thing about it 2 stars
8/15/08 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
4/02/06 Peter De La Rosa Jet and Aliahah are all this has going for it. 3 stars
2/01/06 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
3/13/05 Clooney is ugly I don't remember it being that bad 3 stars
4/06/04 grace it was fantastique 4 stars
7/06/03 Jack Sommersby Clunky, overedited action and bland characters. A real stinker. 1 stars
7/04/03 lee cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/21/03 jacksona damm! this movie is tha best movie I have seen damm! it was kool, awesome, tight, the best! 5 stars
10/23/02 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
2/02/02 Andrew Carden Other Then A Few Good Fight Scenes, The Movie Suffers From A Flimsy Storyline. 2 stars
12/10/01 Tam Shit storyline & mediocre screenplay. You'd be better entertained by picking your nose. 1 stars
11/01/01 ?? they all look like they're not amused ANY TIME IN THE FILM 3 stars
9/28/01 faurgabriel very good 3 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean Empty film, but great action. R.I.P Aaliyah! 3 stars
8/04/01 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
4/16/01 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
3/19/01 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
12/26/00 Piotr Only thing that iritated me was the hollywood slow-mo (bs) fist of legend still rules 4 stars
12/03/00 tom calder it is the best movie i have seem in my life 5 stars
11/17/00 Miranda Lee This film is WICKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/04/00 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
5/02/00 mop Expect Jet Li to kick the most ass and everything else to be silly and you'll like it. 4 stars
4/25/00 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
4/18/00 MAD DOG the moves may look fake but the movie rocks 5 stars
4/11/00 kohawk hel-lo? All of a sudden, w/ no warning, jetli can defy fucking gravity?? How absurd!? 2 stars
4/08/00 Willie Marshment I wish the karate guy would have dropped his pants and showed his crankshaft!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/07/00 nootch Cable fight scenes are classic and look cool. This was better than any Jackie Chan flick! 4 stars
4/06/00 jonj what a crapfest 1 stars
4/02/00 Captain Highcrime Holy moly massa, where all the white people go? 2 stars
4/01/00 Mr Happy The movie got crappy after the brief Asian nipple flashing. 1 stars
3/31/00 Angel Rei ugh.....i was drug to this film not expecting much and let me tell you, i wasnt let down. 2 stars
3/31/00 sol The fight scenes are _supposed to_ look fake. It's classic HK/Cantonese martial arts. 3 stars
3/30/00 Tony C. Jet Li is great - in "Once Upon A Time In China" 1 stars
3/30/00 Wez The biggest piece of crap since Supernova came out a couple months ago! Pure CRAP! 1 stars
3/30/00 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
3/27/00 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
3/25/00 Shawn Burden Piece of Shit! 1 stars
3/25/00 Drano Check out "Fist of Legend" Jet Li is excellent 3 stars
3/25/00 mrenwick YAAAWWNNNN...Li's Hong Kong flicks are 400 times better than this derivative crap. 2 stars
3/24/00 TimmyToday Everyone is Kung-Fu Fighting!! 4 stars
3/24/00 Pedro Sancho The best action movie ever 5 stars
3/24/00 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
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  22-Mar-2000 (R)


  11-May-2000 (MA)

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