(Review originally written at 9 September 2008)

After "The Matrix" there were a lot of movies who suddenly ignored the fact that there is actually a thing such as gravity. "Romeo Must Die" was one of the first mainstream movies to feature this, after "The Matrix". To me it gives the movie more of a fake look rather than a spectacular one though.

It's definitely a movie made for the MTV-generation. It's a noisy, fast movie with different songs like every 1 minute, that often don't even blend in with what's happening on the screen. It's like they had a quota of a certain amount of songs they had to put in the movie. Most of the songs are already sounding outdated by now, so just imaging how this movie would be like to watch in 10 years from now.

Seems to me that all this Aaliyah gushing comes from the fact that she died in a plane crash one year after this movie. But lets be fair and objective for one moment, she just wasn't a very great actress. It's of course always a horrible thing when a person dies so young and under such horrible circumstances but it ain't exactly like James Dean has died here or anything like that. This movie was her acting debut and it was the only movie that got released during her lifetime.

Let's not even get started on Jet Li...I already knew he just isn't a great actor and the only thing that gets him movie roles are of course his fighting skills, which certainly aren't lacking as much as his acting abilities.

I'm getting kind of fed up with this great black actors appearing in these sort of productions, just because it's a 'black' production and they are helping their brothers out. I mean come on Delroy Lindo can get and certainly also deserves better roles in better movies than this. He's potentially an Oscar winner but he obviously won't ever win one if he decided to go on and play roles in movies such as this one. Same thing to a lesser extend somewhat also goes for Isaiah Washington.

None of the characters really work out because of the messy storytelling, in which a main plot only gets vaguely visible not until halve way through. Lots of characters seem to be redundant and the movie seems to have a hard time keeping its main focus on one thing and one main character. But oh well when you have an actor such as Jet Li playing the main role, you of course also can't really trust on it to let him carry the entire movie on his own.

But also just the story on its own is hardly anything interesting and seems to be very typical for an action movie such as this one. Perhaps its also due to the fact that Andrzej Bartkowiak was still an inexperienced director that the movie did not worked out so well, especially story-wise. This was actually the first movie he did as a director. Bartkowiak mostly got his fame for working as a director of photography on mostly well known action movies such as "Speed", "Lethal Weapon 4" and other fine movies such as "The Devil's Advocate", "Terms of Endearment" and "Species". Seems like the Polish born Bartkowiak has completely retired from camera-work now to completely focus on his directing career. With movies such as "Exit Wounds", "Cradle 2 the Grave", "Doom" and this one behind his name he hasn't had much success with it yet though.

I was also expecting some more action from this movie, also not in the least since it had Jet Li in the main role. But because the movie has a hard time keeping its focus and let things evolve around the Jet Li character, he actually gets far too little to do action wise. I was just expecting some more good fight sequences from the movie, although the movie of course obviously still features action moments like this. The movie was just not like I was expecting it to be and it also had actually very little romance in it. I was sort of expecting more of a modern Romeo and Juliet type of story (like the movie its title also would suggest) but instead the movie is more about some rivaling gangs and the I need to say more?

Bad story flow, bad character handling, disappointing action and below par acting performances from most of the cast. Just an overall bad movie!


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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