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Ballistic Kiss
  Chinese: 殺殺人、跳跳舞
Annie Wu and Donnie Yen
Year: 1998
Director: Donnie Yen Ji-Dan
Producer: Donnie Yen Ji-Dan
Writer: Donnie Yen Ji-Dan
Cast: Donnie Yen Ji-Dan, Annie Wu (Ng San-Kwan), James Wong Ka-Lok, Simon Lui Yu-Yeung, Yu Rong-Guang, Karen Tong Bo-Yu, Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu, Felix Lok Ying-Kwan
The Skinny: Wow...this is quite a film. Whether or not it's good is another question entirely.
by Kozo:

After last year’s Legend of the Wolf, you had to wonder what Donnie Yen would do for his encore. That previous movie was an overwrought, confusing, but well-staged action movie with lots of slo-mo shots of Yen aping Bruce Lee. He gives us the same treatment in Ballistic Kiss, but he attempts to give us actual feeling with this movie.

Yen plays Cat, an aimless hitman who bumps off deserving scumbags with acrobatic flair and deft precision. On his downtime, he unburdens himself to an annoying DJ (Simon Lui, who’s back for more smarmy cameos) and dreams of meeting his ultimate “angel.” He does, a beautiful young policewoman named Carrie (Annie Wu). It turns out Carrie’s in charge of finding the person behind the massacre of the triads, and big surprise: it’s Cat. Problems arise when Cat’s old rival James Wong Ka-Lok arrives in HK to broker unseen and frankly unimportant drug deals. Cat wants James dead, but James won’t croak so easily. In a strange turn of events, Cat ends up kidnapping Carrie, and we’re off on the strangest drug trip/emotional hangover ever seen on celluloid.

Using a virtual primer of film geek techniques, Donnie Yen spins a tale of love and revenge drenched in reds, blues, and splattered blood. The action is John Woo rip-off central, with more bullets flying than female underwear at a Tom Jones concert. Never mind that anyone rarely gets hit, the action only serves to provide breaks in the melodramatic storyline of a man in search of the angel in himself, and the innocence he lost so long ago. Or something to that effect.

Actually, I’m not sure what the hell Donnie Yen was trying to say with this movie, but it’s so romantically silly that it’s either total garbage or some form of new, post-modern camp style that will only be appreciated in the year 2036. Yen goes so over the top in this film that he enters orbit and circles the galaxy for a second pass. Ballistic Kiss could be a total parody if Yen weren’t so bent on showing you that he FEELS this stuff. There IS true poetry in this character of Cat—such that the world moves in slow motion and little nuggets of wisdom like “nobody is innocent” apparently rate as philosophical axioms.

Everything about Ballistic Kiss screams “ACTION! DRAMA! COOL STYLE!” The fab wardrobe is a sure tip-off, where everyone wears black  (probably because it comes in handy at spontaneous funerals). Carrie is a totally unrealistic character: she’s a cop that lets a hitman lead her around and dresses like a Spice Girl to boot. There’s too much gunplay and not enough toe-to-toe fighting, which was the saving grace of Legend of the Wolf. The gunfights are cool and stylized, but there are sometimes mystifying moments that make you laugh out loud. At one point, there’s a huge point-blank gunfight where characters escape without a single wound. Donnie Yen and cameo-man Yu Rong-Guang engage in another wacky moment: a gun battle in a confined room that actually apes an episode of Police Squad! 

That Donnie Yen threw this all together and expected us to be moved is dumbfounding—but you gotta give the guy credit. This derivative, pretentious, and embarrassingly romantic flick puts everything on the line and asks you to believe. Frankly, I couldn’t believe what was happening. Laugh or cry when you see this movie. It’s your choice, and you can’t really go wrong either way. (Kozo 1998)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital Mono
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Universe Laser and Video Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen