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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 Slyder

"Dies, It Dies"
1 stars

Gentlemen welcome newcomer director Andrzej Bartkowiak. He’s the new guy, former cinematographer with an impressive record (Terms Of Endearment, The Verdict, Prizzi’s Honor, Thirteen Days, etc.). One day he finally makes up his mind, and goes on to pursue the dream that many cinematographers crave and chase: Be a director of a movie. So far, that has been a tough task. Jack Cardiff is one of the few that managed that transition successfully, but many haven't. Jan De Bont had only one good film in Speed but sunk with shit like Twister, Speed 2, and The Haunting. Janusz Kaminski flopped with Lost Souls. Now Bartkowiak can add his name on the list because his feature film debut sucked, AND IT SUCKED HARD. Oh, and furthermore, it wasted a great martial arts talent in Jet Li. My first experience with Li was in the Golden Harvest film, The Master, and he blew me away. The guy is an amazing martial arts artist, but this film fucks him in the foulest of ways.

Ok, ripped off Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, there are two gangs at war: the Blacks, headed by black honcho Isaak O’Day (Delroy Lindo), and the Asians, headed by Asian honcho Ch’u Sing (Henry O, seriously, that’s his name). Ch’u’s son, Po (Jonkit Lee) gets wasted, then later, Isaak’s son Colin (D.B. Woodside) also gets wasted. Han (Li), Po’s brother, who’s in jail in China (a scapegoat used by his dad) hears the news and escapes the prison and heads to the US (How he managed to get from China to the US without a passport or papers still puzzles me) to seek revenge. There he meets Isaak’s daughter Trish (the late Aalyiah), and both of course, fall in love. While Han looks for clues to track his brother’s murderer, he uncovers a plot to get rid of some old waterfronts to build… a… football… stadium.

Oh yeah, if you’re not stupid enough, you’ll immediately notice two things at the beginning of the film that immediately will make up the movie for you. You’ll notice that in the black side, Isaak’s right hand man Mac (Isaiah Washington looking like Puff Daddy) is the bad guy, as well as his Asian counterpart Kai (Russel Wong). How do you know? Hell, you can tell, by the way the act and appear, both guys are bad-asses, they got a smirky, sly face, a smile and attitude unlike the other guys, oh yeah, you can tell they’re the pieces that don’t fit in the puzzle. Great, we’ve entered “Predictable-land.” And furthermore, why is there a war over the building of a damn football stadium? This is interesting, I thought that war was on drugs and illegal shit you know. The plot is as shallow as an eye drop, and furthermore, it gets hit with a prop that fucks up many action flicks: IT’S BORING!!! Why the fuck didn’t this film concentrate on the gang war itself, lost of action guns explosions, shit why? Or why not into a love story? Cause honestly, I don’t see the big fucking point calling this movie “Romeo Must Die,” is there any real reason?

Now the action scenes, which include the many fights with Li, and a car chase over the streets of Oakland. The car chase scenes were poorly made since, hell, the car was like driving 35 mph all the time, and it was just pathetic to watch. I was already catching sleep when all this was happening. The martial arts scenes… I’ll get to that later.

Then we’re introduced into some HIGHLY unnecessary comedy relief, in the form of Anthony Anderson in the role of Maurice. Gosh, who the fuck dug out this fuck? The guy is never funny, and is highly annoying, and he’s supposed to be Trish’s bodyguard? Hell I wouldn’t leave my shoes with him. The guy was pathetic. For Christ sake Anthony, just die.

You know, I never really cared for Aaliyah’s work, whether it was in the movies or in music, but gosh, she sucks. Her performance is dreadful here, and I couldn’t stand her most of the time. Guess old Collin is right; singers shouldn’t act, since they don’t know how to act and worse, they damage their reputation by choosing this business as an exposure. Results: shit.

But man, Joel Silver and his bitch Bartkowiak had to trash a guy like Jet Li. Gosh, whoever thought that adding an X-ray-like close-up of somebody’s bones being broken off should be mutilated. What’s cool about that? I mean, sure, we can dig martial arts fights, and we know that breaking bones are part of the game, but come one, do we have to watch it with such details for fuck sake? Only a sick man would like to see how a bone gets broken, or how a bullet shreds a heart to a bunch of blobby shit. What the fuck? Watching that bullshit just made me sick, and at times I felt like changing the channel, and the boringness of the movie did not help either. Furthermore, was it necessary to tie Le with strings so we can see him jump, be suspended in the air and kick five guys at the same time? By the way do we have to add that it’s one of the lamest, most stupid-looking sequences ever on celluloid? I mean, I can’t believe this horseshit just anally raped Li. He’s a great martial artist, and it’s fun to watch him action (always has been), but to watch him do shit like this (check out the last sequence between Han and Kai), is just fucked up, and gives you more the feeling that the guy has no pride at all in showing his true talents, and rather have his talents wrapped up in half-assed FX, that look faker than ever, and rely on strings to do his fighting. Good God, can someone find me a Jackie Chan movie quickly?

In the end, forget it. Don’t waste your time in this flick. Go watch some Jackie Chan movie, or dig out the older Jet Li movies, which are way much better than this sack of shit. Gosh, this one of the most boring action films ever made. Bartkowiak should stick to cinematography, and Joel Silver should STOP, STOP making so many Matrix rip-offs. (0.5-5)

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originally posted: 04/08/02 10:12:44
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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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