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"ROMEO MUST DIE"
(2000) (Jet Li, Aaliyah) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Moderate Extreme Mild Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Moderate Heavy Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Mild Moderate Mild Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: As the battle between two crime families for control of Oakland's waterfront property escalates to murder, a young man seeks answers and retribution for the treachery and betrayal that led to his brother's death.
PLOT:
On Oakland's waterfront, a bitter turf battle is being played out between Asian and African American crime families. When the Asian warlord's son, Po (JON KIT LEE), is found dead, the gang war escalates to new heights. News of the murder eventually reaches a Hong Kong prison holding the victim's brother, Han (JET LI), a former cop who took the rap so that Po and their father, Ch'u Sing (HENRY O), could escape to the U.S.

Now, Sing and his right-hand man, Kai (RUSSELL WONG), control a powerful Asian crime family that's hostile to the local African-American crime family run by Isaak O'Day (DELROY LINDO). Although Isaak eventually wants to get into a legitimate business with his son, Colin (D.B. WOODSIDE), and an ambitious businessman, Roth (EDOARDO BALLERINI), he must first contend with allegations that his people were responsible for Po's death.

Thus, his right-hand man, Mac (ISAIAH WASHINGTON), is put on notice, as is Maurice (ANTHONY ANDERSON), a portly and bumbling fellow assigned to protect Isaak's adult and very independent daughter, Trish (AALIYAH), who wants nothing to do with her father's illegal business activities.

With Han arriving in the U.S. and repeatedly running into Trish, and more members of each crime family being murdered, the two young members of the opposing families try to figure out what's going on and determine exactly who's responsible.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of Jet Li ("Lethal Weapon 4," "Black Mask") or martial arts related films in general, it's a good bet they'll want to see this film.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence, some language and brief nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JET LI plays a Hong Kong cop who breaks out of prison (where he was serving time for taking the rap for other family members) upon learning of his brother's death. Upon arriving in the U.S., he tries to figure out who's responsible and ends up fighting plenty of people who want to kill him.
  • AALIYAH plays Isaak's adult, independent and defiant daughter who wants nothing to do with her father's illegal business activities, but finds herself involved upon meeting Han.
  • HENRY O plays Han's father, the head of the Asian crime family.
  • RUSSELL WONG plays his right-hand man who isn't above murderous violence to get the assigned task at hand completed.
  • DELROY LINDO plays the head of the African-American crime family, a proud family man who wants to go legitimate and get away from the illegal business.
  • ISAIAH WASHINGTON plays his right-hand man, another thug who isn't above murderous violence to get what he wants. He briefly uses some strong profanity.
  • ANTHONY ANDERSON plays Isaak's bumbling and portly crony who's assigned to protect Trish but isn't very capable of even keeping her in his sight. He uses strong profanity.
  • EDOARDO BALLERINI plays an ambitious, local businessman who's trying to strike up a deal with both crime families.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated action film. Violence is rated as extreme due not only to all of the martial arts-related fighting that occurs throughout the picture, but also because of the many lethal and occasionally bloody shootings (and some lethal explosions) that also occur. Due to the hip way in which the fighting is presented, kids may want to imitate the many punches, kicks and other martial arts-related acrobatics that occur during the film.

    Profanity consists of at least 9 "f" words (perhaps more since many of the rap songs' lyrics could not be understood), while other profanities and colorful phrases are also uttered. Most of the characters belong to crime families and thus have bad attitudes (especially the ones who double-cross their own people).

    A woman's bare breast is briefly seen as two women do a sensual dance and part of a man's bare butt is seen after he loses his belt and his pants fall down. Beyond that, there's some smoking and drinking, along with some brief drug use. If you're still concerned about the film's content and whether it's appropriate for anyone in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our more detailed content listings.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People have drinks in a club.
  • Maurice has a drink in a bar and demands to know where his next one is.
  • Isaak and Collin might be having drinks.
  • A woman with Collin smokes a joint that she's just rolled.
  • We see what look like bags of cocaine, along with some beer, in a room.
  • People have drinks in a bar.
  • Roth and others celebrate with champagne, while Isaak has a drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see some blood on a dead man's head.
  • A man's head is bloody after Han head-butts him.
  • Maurice's mouth is bloody after fighting Han.
  • We see a body in a casket (but beyond being dead it's not bloody or gory).
  • We see bodies being pulled out of the water (from a distance), and then see some bloodless cut marks on the face of one of the victims in a body bag.
  • A person is impaled by falling backwards onto a stake (we see an internal, X-ray type view of the stake going into the heart, but don't see any blood).
  • Some people who are shoot have bloody bullet wounds in their clothing (and we see blood squirt out when one man is shot in the leg).
  • We see a man's blackened and burned hand.
  • A man's face is somewhat bloody during a fight.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Obviously all of the villains and criminals have extreme cases of bad attitudes (and some of the bad guys even turn on their own crime families).
  • A cab driver is mean to Han in a demeaning way as is Maurice in later scenes where he calls him "Dim sum."
  • Han hotwires and steals a cab.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Viewers may find scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" as disturbing and/or suspenseful, but most of the scenes come off as action-oriented rather than suspenseful.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Bombs: Used to threaten, wound, or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Serious sh*t," "You drive like sh*t," "No sh*t," "Piece of sh*t," "Zipper head," "Moron," "Jeez," "Chump," "Kick my ass," "Go to hell," "I'll be damned," "Shut up," "Punk ass" and "Bitch ass."
  • Since it's made to look so cool, kids may want to imitate all of the martial arts related material (fighting with kicking, punching and spinning through the air, etc.) that occurs in the film.
  • Han hotwires and steals a cab, and later uses a small drill to work on a locked door and gain entry into his brother's place.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful/ominous music occurs during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • Although many of the rap songs' lyrics couldn't be understood, we did hear a fair number of "f" and "s" words, along with "nigger," "bitch," as well as a song that had lyrics along the lines of "Are you feeling me, because I'm feeling you" (presumably a double entendre).
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 9 "f" words (2 used with "mother," some in songs), 34 "s" words (some in songs), 16 damns, 12 asses, 13 hells, 1 S.O.B., 1 crap, 2 uses each of "G-damn" and "Jesus" and 1 use each of "Jesus Christ" and "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see two women sensuously dancing together in a club where they caress each other's clothed body (briefly including breasts) and lick each other's tongues. One then briefly pulls down the other's dress, and we briefly see her bare breast.
  • After Han whips off a man's belt, that man's pants fall down and we see him in his small underwear. Then, after Han has tied him up (while fighting others), we see part of this man's bare butt.
  • We see a woman with Collin whose shirt/robe is open and we see her in her bra (with cleavage).
  • Han finds a cane that is topped off by a small, nude, and silver figurine of a kneeling woman with arched back and bare breasts.
  • Maurice tells Han (about Trish), "You didn't really think you were going to get those panties…You didn't really think she was going to give it up to you?"
  • SMOKING
  • Han, Sing, Collin and Roth, along with various miscellaneous characters, all smoke once.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Sing and Han must deal with Po's death, including a funeral scene.
  • Various family members must contend with the murder of another family member.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The race-related struggle between the Asian and African-American crime families.
  • Martial arts.
  • VIOLENCE
  • An Asian man hits an African-American man several times in the crotch and knocks him over and some more struggling ensues. Kai then hits and kicks several other men, sending one flying back through some glass and another onto a table. Another man then tries to hit him with a bottle and he is kicked several times until he crashes through glass in a bar. He then takes on three men at a time, blocking their various kicks and punches. Both parties then pull out various guns and aim them at each other. The club owner then fires a gun into the air to get their attention and make them all leave.
  • We see a dead man who's been strung up by a rope (but don't know whether he died from hanging or earlier trauma).
  • Han hits two guards with his bowl and smashes one into a table. Riot guards then enter and presumably knock him out since we then see them dragging his unconscious body down a hall. They then string him up by one foot and prepare to strike him, but he head-butts one man and then wraps a chain around another. While still hanging upside down, he fights more men and we see an X-ray type internal shot of one man's bone breaking inside his body. By the time he escapes (by grabbing another guard and banging him against a door), Han has injured many people.
  • An explosion blows up a store, killing several people inside.
  • Mac backhands Maurice.
  • Maurice and his thugs try to intimidate and then attack Han in an outdoor stairwell. Han defends himself by hitting one and then kicking Maurice in the crotch and punching him. More fighting then takes place between Han and the thugs with punches, kicks and various stunts thrown in (including Han hitting them with a belt). Maurice then tries to get him with a gun, but Han disarms him and walks away.
  • Mac, Maurice and some football buddies lay into Han with some hard-hitting, bone crunching tackles and piling on (as well as hitting him in midair and spinning him around like a top) while playing some football in the park. Han then retaliates by performing some martial arts moves and landing some punches and kicks on them while running down the field as they try to tackle him.
  • We see a man and woman being thrown through a glass window (from the outside) and then falling many stories until they hit the water below (we later see their bodies being pulled from the water).
  • Han returns home to find that his brother's place has been ransacked.
  • Trish and Han find several dead people in a warehouse/office. Some motorcyclists then open fire on them with machine guns, eventually shooting some holes in their car. As they escape, the motorcyclists pursue and shoot at them. During this, Han drives through a signpost, knocking the sign above it to the ground. The motorcyclist then tries shooting into the car, causing Han to sideswipe other cars.
  • A motorcyclist is clotheslined by some poles sticking out from a truck.
  • Han uses his car to clip a motorcycle, sending the driver onto his hood (who pulls out a gun to shoot him). He then slams on the brakes, sending the motorcyclist flying through the air and onto the street. Han and the motorcyclist then exchange some martial arts blows.
  • Since Han can't hit a woman, he uses Trish as an extension of his body to fight a female assailant (after Trish already opened a car door into the woman) with various martial arts moves.
  • A person is impaled by falling backwards onto a stake (we see an internal, X-ray type view of the stake going into the heart).
  • Mac holds his gun to a fisherman's head and then pushes it down into a bin of live crabs (forcing him to give up his property deed).
  • Kai shoots several men dead.
  • A barge explodes and burns.
  • We see some men who are bound and gagged in what looks like a butcher's freezer (and it's implied that they're to be killed).
  • A person shoots another person dead and seemingly knocks Han unconscious.
  • Han kicks a table back into a person and then hits others with many martial arts-related punches and kicks.
  • Various men shoot at Han who, in turn, hits them with the water from a fire hose. After someone whacks off the end of that hose, Han uses it (and its metal end) to hit others on their heads.
  • A larger man grabs Han in a bear hug and smashes him into various objects including a glass window from which Han then hangs. The two end up falling several stories onto the roof of a car below them (Han is uninjured, the man seems dazed).
  • A man holds his arm around Trish's neck, but she later hits him in the face.
  • A man starts to strangle another man until he pulls out a gun and shoots this other man. A gun battle then breaks out, with people being shot (and wounded or killed) with handguns and machine guns.
  • A man shoots at people trying to escape in a helicopter (and they fire back) and then holds his gun on another man until he's shot several times and then falls off the roof a building.
  • Two men get into a prolonged fight with each delivering many punches and kicks to the other (and one being burned by hot coals and the metal container holding them, and one being knocked back through a burning fence). After one delivers many hard blows to the body, neck and face of the other, he finally wins by breaking the other's neck/spine with a blow (that's seen in another X-ray style, interior shot).
  • A man commits suicide (we only hear the shot and later see the slumped over body, but no blood).



  • Reviewed March 16 , 2000 / Posted March 22, 2000

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