Kiss of the Dragon | Chicago Reader

Kiss of the Dragon

After the usual double-cross setup and warm-up pyrotechnics, this action movie concentrates largely on its heroine, and things get funnier as they get more—misogynistic? Satiric or parodic, director Chris Nahon and writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen might say. As the farm girl from North Dakota, Bridget Fonda explains how she got forced into prostitution by a corrupt Paris cop: the French accent—wow! Besides, he'd discussed politics, history, art, and movies with her before turning her into a junkie and kidnapping her daughter. The closest thing to a sympathetic moment for the villain comes when he stops short of flipping a turtle onto its back, yet his well-deserved fate, depicted in gory detail in the movie's assaultive climax, isn't cathartic, it's pandering. Still, he's the perfect foil for Jet Li's hero, a Shanghai government agent sent to Paris to prevent a murder he gets framed for and a perfect gentleman; he too hits the prostitute, but only to rouse her from unconsciousness after she's passed out, and he later apologizes. “That's OK, I'm used to it,” she says. So are we. The new sexism—the old sexism plus the idea that everything is ironic—is getting old. With Tcheky Karyo. 98 min.

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