22 December 2010 | craigstealsheep
Disappointing effort from Yen
In an attempt to mix martial arts gunkata and some slight Buddhist philosophy, Donnie bites off far more than he can chew. "Ballistic Kiss" tries hard to be hard hitting and gritty, but comes off as just another John Woo's "The Killer" ripoff without any of the deep characters or sacrifice that film gives us. This just becomes an exercise in how not to write a script, and how not to make a plot.
The main story concerns an ex-cop turned killer who seeks revenge against the one who wronged him and sent him to prison. Along the way, he falls in love with a Hong Kong cop who has a relationship with the man who wronged him. While a certain amount of suspension is necessary, the story has so many jarring problems with logic that it's hard to keep a straight face.
The story is so plot driven that the characters are left in the dust. You never get a sense of who's who and what their personalities are like. Not only that, but Donnie Yen's character, Cat, is even more invincible than Jean Reno in "The Professional", which this movie even discusses. In one scene, Yen is about to snipe the villain from afar, but when he sees the love interest walking arm in arm with him, he charges in with a pistol. He then pries her away without being injured and the two escape. They also have a love scene after he used her for a shield five minutes earlier! This film isn't terrible, but when people say this is better than most of what Hollywood puts out, that is just Hollywood hate going around. "The Bourne Identity" is a Hollywood picture that manages to do everything this film tries to do, with a coherent story and character driven plot. Probably the biggest problem is the fact that the fights aren't even that good. They are hard to see, and it's like watching an episode of the A-team, lots of shooting, but their aim is awful.
It's too bad this film didn't work. I really enjoy Donnie Yen's more contemporary settings (Tiger Cage 1 and 2, Flashpoint, and SPL especially), but this one just tries so hard to be a John Woo style gun ballet that it just has no weight on it's own. Which is really too bad, because the idea has so much promise it's a shame it doesn't work.