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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 Chris Parry

"'Daddy, what happened to Jet Li?' - 'Hollywood son. Hollywood.'"
1 stars

Holy mother on a stick, if you'd have told me three years ago that Jet Li would be less effective as an action hero than Chris Tucker, I'd have kung-fu smacked you in the head and let you feel the steel tips in a place best left covered in polite society. But ladies and gentlemen, no matter how dense your buddies, there's nobody amongst your posse who will watch Romeo Must Die and get a thrill out of it. Nobody. You'll be mildly amused, you might even like a few bits, but if this mildly heated bucket of donkey crap is enough to get you on the edge of your seat, might I suggest a course in electro-shock therapy followed by any prescription drug you can get your hands on. You need it all, baby. Because this is the hokiest Hollywood action fart since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Jet Li, for the uninitiated, is Asia's highest flying martial arts star. Now ordinarily this means less to you than your grandmother ringing you up and informs you that "they just don't make cabbage like they used to." But if you've ever had the distinct pleasure of watching films such as High Risk, Fist Of Legend or Last Hero In China, you'd know that Li is incredible. Yes, he uses wires for his aerial work. Yes, he's not the greatest actor around. But, Jesus with a six pack, the man is ferocious. Bone breaking, leg snapping, spine crunching action animosity. Check out his work as the bad guy in Lethal Weapon 4 and you soon realise this kid's a bad-ass. The baddest ass.

And then came producer king Joel Silver. The Silver One is not one to take other people's opinions on board. He's a notorious asshole and he's clearly decided that all he needs to do is take the best of Asia to America and he'll have a nicely translated US action hero. He's wrong. Li rocks in his own style and the Hong Kong industry know how to make movies in his style. Even his worst films, like The Hitman, are fantastic to watch. So does Joel fly out a Hong Kong crew? No sir, he just tries to make a Hong Kong movie using an awful story with a silly plot, abysmal script and a supporting cast that will hopefully be going back to their jobs at Burger-matic about now.

Evil crime gangs! The blacks hate the asians! The asians hate the blacks! Oooh, ain't it always the way? Asian crime heir dies! Black crime heir dies! It's war!

And at about this time, Jet, a cop being held in prison for a crime his dad committed, hears of his brother's death and decides "well, i guess I'll escape now" - and does. There and then. Tied upside down by one foot, in a locked room with guys smacking him with sticks. He doesn't escape when the screws go to sleep at night, he waits until they tie him up and beat his ass. Then he escapes. Begin my therapy now please.

So he comes to the USA (because an escaped Chinese criminal whose brother just died in America would have no trouble getting to America with no money or passport with the cops looking for him, would he?) and looks up the gangs to find out who killed his poor brother.

The big question that is never answered in this film is WHO CARES?! We don't root for the black guys because, hey, they're always the bad guys. We don't root for the Asians because, hey, nobody ever does in Hollywood films. And we don't root for the white guys because the only white guys in the film are the bad-guy businessmen using the gangs to get all the waterfront land they can to build a football stadium. And because they are the single two worst actors in the history of film. Ever. We're talking worse then Evil Kneivel in Viva Kneivel (1977). We're talking worse than the old broad who used to be Billy Jack's sidekick in the early 70's. We're talking worse than Andrew Dice Clay. Are you catching on?

So we root for nobody. We decide to just watch for carnage. And then they decide to not bother with carnage and make it a funny rom-com instead. Like, can we just snap some bones and get away from the "falling in love" crap? and can we stop having extreme close-ups of Jet Li's battle-scarred face? And can someone PLEASE get that man out of cargo pants?

Good lord, when it's getting bad it has a tendency to get worse. Isaiah Washington, who can shoot a hoop let me tell ya, can not act the villain worth a damn. He walks around in a weird Giorgio Armani zip-up leather suit that, seriously, you'd laugh at out loud if someone wore it within eyeshot of you. It's like someone walking around in an old Michael Jackson "Thriller" Jacket. You'd be like "um, excuse me, yeah hi, this would be the year 2000. I believe you're looking for 1975." Isaiah has played some surprisingly good roles since he started playing with the whole movie thing, usually as the suave, cool dude with a penchant for poetry or something classy. Here he's the guy who can't talk to a woman without smashing his fist on the restaurant table or shooting someone in the face. It's lame. It's like a Joel Schumacher Batman. You forget they're trying to be serious and start shaking your head at the screen.

But hey, every action film has a big ending, right? Give yourself an uppercut, stupido, because this film has no big ending. It has stupid ending, lame ending, I think there's a crap ending in the glove compartment and they're saving for the new model "shoot me please" ending. It's LAME! A total anti-climax. Action you'd see in a Richard Greico movie. Impact you'd get from a Lorenzo Lamas thriller. Awful stuff.

Jet Li is way way off form. Even when he isn't talking like he has a mouth full of mashed potatoes, he's giving his 'sexy grin', and that's a bad sign because he's not real sexy. The fight scenes are a major downer. Whereas in Hong Kong the fights are ultra-choreographed and planned for months, in a Silver film you show up, throw some swings and shake the camera a lot. Then you cut every shot together in a blamange of crash edits and MTV diversionary tactics to make it look 'cool', but to a martial arts fan, this looks like utter dogshite from start to finish.

Utter dogshite. Boring. One of the most boring action films I've had the misfortune to sit through. I snuck in. I should have snuck out.

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originally posted: 05/13/00 02:35:37
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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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