Jet Li in Action/Comedy; the Action can be good, but the
Steve Vander | 06/11/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"comedy isn't that good . . .
1998 R-rated Hong Kong Martial Arts film (set in Hong Kong, with Japanese criminals; R-rated for violence and some language). Also known as "Sat sau ji wong," "Hitman," and "King of Assassins."
DVD Features: The DVD contains the movie and some special features. The movie can be heard in English (Dolby Digital or Dolby Surround), or Spanish (apparently no Chinese option), and has a "English for the deaf and hard of hearing" subtitle option. The special features are: Director and cast filmographies, film trailer, "Jet Li Bonus Trailers" ("The One," "Meltdown," and "Legend of The Red Dragon"), and a photo gallery.
Credits: The movie stars Jet Li (Fu; "Romeo Must Die," "Once Upon a Time in China"), Gigi Leung (Kiki; "A True Mob Story"), Simon Yam (Kwan; "Casino"), and Eric Tsang (Ngok Lo; "The Accidental Spy"). The director is Tung Wai (also known as Wei Tung; "Fox Hunter"). Written by Chan Heng Ka, Vincent Kok, and Cheng Kam Fa.
Plot: Jet Li is a contract killer (or an ex-soldier willing to kill for money) after an assassin of a Yakuza boss. The boss had set up a reward for the one who catches his killer. A reward of One Hundred Million Dollars ($50 million for catching killer, $50 million for finding the ones who hired the killer).
Review: Like "Romeo Must Die," this film uses rap music as its movie music. Unlike that "Romeo" movie, I've never heard of this Jet Li film, and am confused by it. Due to the lack of Chinese language options, and based on the type of movie music, the movie seems as if it was intended for USA release (or rerelease), but I've never heard of it (though the movie appears to be badly dubbed and I believe that at one point, Jet Li's voice changes (odd they wouldn't have Chinese language option)).
I think that the movie is supposed to be something of a comedy, and there are some funny moments, but the humor seems a little off (especially considering the enormous blood spillage). This movie is not at all like I expected. I expected Li to be, and act, like an assassin. Instead he is mostly a novice (a skilled one, due to be an ex-soldier), and seems at first to be incompetent (maybe "slow"). Despite these comments, the actions scenes are interesting, while the comedy scenes, for the most part, are not (and the evil guys have some neat tricks).
The acting was average, the plot was somewhat interesting, the action scenes were good, but the comedy and music were, mostly, off-putting. Overall, I would give the movie 3.20 stars."
[3.5] you can't love it but you can't hate it
dominion_ruler | Carolina, USA | 09/27/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While Contract Killer was somewhat entertaining, there were still some elements that kept this film from being as strong as many of Jet Li's standards. For one, Li's character "Fu" never really clicked for me. Fu is not a homeless character, but close to it, and suddenly finds himself with the opportunity to collect a $100 million reward for capturing a murderer known as "The King of Killers". Now we know Jet Li has some of the best martial arts around, but when he unleashes in this film (which honestly felt like hardly ever) it just seems to come out of nowhere from the kind of character he plays. His fighting does seem very limited, and well, it is. There is only one noteworthy martial arts fight scene, and that would have to be the ending of the film. Even that scene wasn't too rememberable compared to most Li films. Still, the plot had some interest and Eric Tsang's character as Li's agent kept things rolling, along with a surprise on who the King of Killers turned out to be.
This is what I like to call a very Americanized release of a H.K. film. In addition to the English dubbing (though it wasn't the worst I have seen) the soundtrack is rap heavy at times. Amusingly, there was even a rap song written for the credits titled "Contract Killer". Go figure. If you are into the whole adding hip-hop to Asian cinema, you should enjoy this as some of the beats and rap were decent.
The plot barely held together what was considered a long hour and half watch for me. The fact was that there just wasn't enough action to glue it all together like most Jet Li films, or action films for that matter. I was hoping maybe it was all being saved for the end, but even then the final fight scenes that lasted several minutes didn't do their justice. I enjoyed the 2 main villains in this film, but had hoped for more of them in the fight scenes. The 2nd villain - and English looking fellow - provided some originality to the fights, with a laser flasher attached to his rings and shoes. When flashed in Jet Li's face, it blinded him momentarily, leaving him open to an attack. But once he learned his way around it, the fight was pretty much over.
Contract Killer is an average Jet Li film. It has good moments here and there, but in the end you may be left with the feeling of "That was it?" Afraid so."
A good Jet Li movie that does not exactly break new ground
morgoth | omaha, NE | 10/17/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is an odd Jet movie because it is not exactly action packed. I would compare it to Dragonfight where Jet only has 2 fight scenes but they are both pretty good. This movie is actually directed by Steve Tung Wai. Only directing 4 films in his LONG matial arts choreographing and stunt career, he really shows that he can make good movies. I would have liked more action, but it is nice to see a well done film.
Now while this movie is not thrilling whatsoever, it does put in action at the right time. Jet starts out as a guy living with a bunch of hitmen and ends up being recruiting by some guy(Eric Tsang). There is a killer on the loose who is taking out bad guys and a 100 million contract has been put out on him. Seriously, 10 million wouldn't be enough? Anyway, Tung Wai puts together a nice mix of comedy and drama but goes more for the laughs. Simon stars in a really good role as a cop and Kenji Sato is very good as the villian.
There is an unbelievably stupid action sequence with a guy that uses lasers on his fingers and feet to blind Jet while fighting but it leads to a much better fight between the 2 at the end. The finale I thought was great and there is just enough action mixed in the beginning and middle to keep you interested in the somewhat yawner of a story.
The picture quality on the Mei Eh version is pretty good and good subtitles also. After seeing the American releases of Jet's Legend of the Red Dragon and Donnie Yen's Fist of the Red Dragon, I made sure never to watch those releases from Sony Pictures ever again. At least I can now laugh at the reviews concerning the rap music, terrible voice dubbing, Sony cutting at least 10 minutes of footage out...