Romeo Must Die : Movie Review

Harking from the same production stable as last year's sci-fi blockbuster Matrix, The (1999), Romeo Must Die is the first English language film to showcase the talents of Hong Kong movie star Jet Li.

Li plays Han Sing, a disgraced Hong Kong policeman and eldest son of a Chinese mobster. Shortly after escaping from a Hong Kong prison, Han travels to San Francisco to attend the funeral of his murdered younger brother. It is here where, after stealing a taxi, he meets Trish O' Day - played by R 'n' B star Aaliyah Houghton - herself on the run from the protection provided by her black mobster father.

And so begins a plot which has the young couple in search of the facts surrounding the death of Han's brother, a journey which sees Trish herself deprived of a brother and both youngsters at odds with their crooked fathers

Unlike its sci-fi predecessor, Romeo Must Die is much less plot-led, preferring instead to take advantage of the considerable kung fu talents of it's male lead in a series of stunning set pieces. That said, although it employs some excellent wire work to create moves which are visually stunning yet physically impossible, the visual style of martial arts on show is often very different from that of Matrix, The (1999). Devoid of the slow motion, John Woo-style flapping black coats, RMD instead includes scenes that are more reminiscent of Jackie Chan's prop-heavy, comedic style of fighting - the most notable of which include Li's use of a fire hose and of Aaliyah's hands and feet.

In conclusion, Romeo Must Die is a highly enjoyable outing for any fan of the martial arts movie, benefiting from it's likeable leads along with some occasional comedy and an excellent soundtrack featuring stars of both the R 'n ' B and gangster rap scenes.

Author : Jim Digby