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Overall Rating
2.45

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 EricDSnider

"'Romeo Must Die' indeed. And the sooner the better."
2 stars

In this loosest of all possible retellings of "Romeo and Juliet," it's the Sharks vs. the Jet -- Jet Li, that is, the Chinese action hero who stars here as Han Sing (the alleged "Romeo" character) who avenges his brother's death in the ongoing battle between the Asians and the African-Americans in Oakland, Calif.

Ch'u Sing (Henry O) is the head of the Asian family, with right-hand man Kai (Russell Wong) there to watch his back. Their counterparts in the black family are Isaak O'Day (Delroy Lindo) and Mac (Isaiah Washington). The two families are at war for reasons that may or may not relate to the fact that they're both trying -- supposedly together, but perhaps at one another's expense -- to get control of the waterfront area in order to build an NFL football stadium.

When Sing's son Po turns up dead, his rebellious brother Han busts out of a Hong Kong prison (this is not made to seem terribly difficult, particularly if you know martial arts, which Han does and all of the prison guards don't), comes to America (don't ask how, because I don't think the movie knows, either), and tries to track down Po's killer.

The obvious culprits, duh, are the black family, except they're saying it wasn't them. Fearing retaliation, though, Isaak has his fattest, least-competent stooge, Maurice (Anthony Anderson, getting the film's only laughs, which are few and far between), body-guard his daughter, Trish (Aaliyah).

Through a series of extraordinary coincidences, Trish and Han meet and manage not to fall in love, which is odd, considering the movie wants us to think of it as a martial-arts version of "Romeo and Juliet." They get to be friends, sure, but not in love. Not anything worth dying over. And the whole "R&J" thing falls to pieces anyway, when the film ends in a manner completely removed from anything even remotely Shakespearean. (Han and Trish -- Romeo and Juliet, in other words -- don't die, for example, which pretty much ruins whatever Shakespeare connection they were going for.)

For a martial-arts movie, there is surprisingly little martial arts in this movie. The film's middle section seems to last for about 105 of its 110 minutes; half-way through it, I turned to my friend and said, "When is the movie going to start?"

The few fight sequences we do get are often (though not always) ruined by "Matrix"-style fakeness: Han breaks a lot of laws, but his most flagrant violation is in the area of gravity. We can accept a little bit of physics-defiance, but when the guy is practically hovering in the air, attached to invisible wires, spinning around and kicking people, it's hard to be entertained. Martial-arts movies are cool because we're impressed at the fighters' skill; here, we're just impressed that they managed to hide the wires.

The final fight, between Han and the real bad guy (no prizes for guessing who it is, though it's hardly worth the mental energy necessary to even MAKE a guess), is well done and exciting, and there are other moments earlier in the film that get the blood pumping. Unfortunately, from a story perspective, the end is pretty disappointing and anti-climactic, since we've known forever who the bad guy was, and Han's fighting him doesn't really settle anything.

For as little sense as "Romeo Must Die" makes, its biggest crime is simply that it's boring. Considering that excitement is usually ALL you expect from a movie like this, not having it delivered to you constitutes a serious breach of trust.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1953&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/05/03 20:19:38
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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
12/12/03 D'ANTE TREVON FRYMAN I LOVE IT 5 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
6/06/00 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
5/02/00 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
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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