While Jackie Chan may have cornered the market in crowd-pleasing chopsocky, his movies have always been geared towards a family audience. Jet Li's films, on the other hand, are hard-edged, ultraviolent affairs offering adult film-goers an invigorating shot of adrenaline.
In the mouth of Hong Kong superstar Jet Li, a polite request like "I would very much appreciate it if you don't do that again" comes dripping with menace, and is backed up by the fastest and deadliest martial arts since the days of Bruce Lee.
Li's previous forays into English language cinema may have left him slightly sidelined, first by Mel Gibson in "Lethal Weapon 4", then by late R&B star Aaliyah in "Romeo Must Die". But thanks to Luc Besson, director of seminal actioners like "Nikita" and "Leon", Jet finally has a roadworthy vehicle.
Li plays Liu, a Chinese agent sent to Paris to assist in the apprehension of a drug lord. But, to corrupt Inspector Richard (Tchéky Karyo), Liu is just a patsy to be framed for said gangster's bloody slaying. On the run in an unfamiliar city, Liu will need all his wits if he is to survive this deadly conspiracy. His only ally is an American heroin-addict (Bridget Fonda) forced into prostitution by Richard.
Kicking butt from the Moulin Rouge to the Bateaux Mouches, Li proves more than a match for Karyo's army of gun-toting coppers. The result is a supremely satisfying blend of Hong Kong mayhem and Gallic flair that can only bolster Li's escalating reputation.
"Kiss of the Dragon" opens in the UK on Friday 9th November 2001.