Toonbots message board: Kiss of the Dragon - 8.5

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Michael Tue Apr 23 10:29:48 2002
Kiss of the Dragon - 8.5

Oy. A *French* kung-fu movie -- on the one hand, you have Jet Li doing what he does best (kicking serious French corrupt cop posterior, and being really soft-spoken and charming), but on the other hand, you have what French films do best (highlighting the essential crappiness of Earthly existence.)

Anyway, Jet Li dominates this movie, as well he should. Ms. Fonda comes off as a kind of "what can we do to make this movie seem literary" kind of add-on role. The French guys are suitably evil, with a kingpin and lots of expendable henchmen -- very kung-fu.

What disturbed me the most in this movie is the fact that everybody speaks accented English, except for Ms. Fonda and some of the henchmen, who are, shall we say, tres Americain. This is supposed to be about a Chinese guy in Paris. When Frenchmen speak with one another, I guarantee you they're not going to be speaking accented English.

Most painful was the brief exchange between a Chinese embassy flack and Jet Li on the phone, with the flack in the presence of the French kingpin. Idiotically, the flack says, in English, "That's very interesting, stay by the phone and I'll call you back." The honcho Bad Guy, of course, figures something's afoot and the flack ends up being followed and shot (on one of those tourist boats on the Seine -- my wife was continually crying, "What, they shoot up this boat (or hotel, or whatever) in the middle of Paris, and nobody *notices*?!? Where's the National Guard?" But we'll leave that inconsistency for the nonce.)

So anyway, this phone thing really ticked me off. As a functional bilingual myself, I know that when you speak in a foreign language in a normal tone to somebody on the phone, nobody else in the room will have a clue about anything. So why didn't the flack speak Chinese to his good friend Jet Li, also Chinese? Because the makers of this film were *not* American and were filming for the American market. Knowing that Americans panic when they hear foreign language, they instead chose to be complete idiots. Oy.

One of many irritating inconsistencies in what was otherwise a pretty enjoyable (if overly bloody -- hey, it was French) movie. Only scores an 8.5 because I feel too darned nitpicky about it this morning.

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