Kiss of the Dragon is a hyperactive martial arts movie with a heavy European feel. After Jet Li's fans were left disappointed with the fake, CGI-enhanced fighting in Romeo Must Die he decided to go back to practical, hand-to-hand combat with literally no strings attached. KOTD is the perfect excuse for action, with minimal plot and impossible odds.
Basically, Jet Li plays a Chinese cop Lui Jian who travels to Paris to help the police bring a crime boss to justice. But the French police just happen to be heavily, heavily corrupt and kill Mr. Big, framing Lui Jian in the process.
Keen to stay alive, Lui Jian flees the scene, but not before screaming, mad and completely hatstand police inspector Richard (Tcheky Caryo in his typically delirious role) sends just about every hardened police psycho after him. Outrageously outnumbered, Lui Jian prevails and fights his way through swarms and swarms of thugs out for his blood. Using only his hands and feet (and any useful nearby tool) he manages to wipe them all out.
Far-fetched it may be, but action choreographer Cory Yuen shoots it all in the most realistic and stylish way. You really will believe Lui Jian is capable of such an impossible feat, that's how realistic the action is. And all without glamorising guns.
KOTD uses the rule of increasingly mad set-pieces. The first desperate escape through the corridors and passageways of the hotel, the death-defying escape from the Seine Barge and through the tunnels and sewers, the orphanage confrontation and (especially) the final scene in the police station where Lui Jian takes on a dojo full of martial artist police officers, evil twins and finally Inspector Richard. It's all breathtaking stuff and very, very violent. With far too many sanitised PG-13 minded 'action' movies abundant these days KOTD is a breath of hardcore fresh air.
If you like this then I suggest checking out The Transporter. It may be slightly tamer but it's made by the same people (producer Luc Besson, Writer Robert Mark Kamen and Cory Yuen) and is also set in France, only with a warmer, more exotic look.
The DVD is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with a great Dolby 5.1 soundtrack. There are some extras and a commentary if you're into that sort of thing.