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Kiss of the Dragon

Theatrical teaser poster
Directed by Chris Nahon
Produced by Luc Besson
Steve Chasman
Happy Walters
Written by Jet Li
Luc Besson
Robert Mark Kamen
Starring Jet Li
Bridget Fonda
Tchéky Karyo
Max Ryan
Music by Craig Armstrong
Chino XL
Cinematography Thierry Arbogast
Editing by Marco Cave
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) June 25, 2001 (2001-06-25)
(United States)
02001-08-01 August 1, 2001 (France)
Running time 100 minutes
Country France
United States
Language English
Budget $25 million[1]
Gross revenue $64,437,847[1]

Kiss of the Dragon is a 2001 martial arts action film, directed by Chris Nahon and starring Jet Li. The film was made in response to Li's fans requesting more realistic fight scenes,[2] and is notable as most of the action sequences did not use CGI or wire work; only two scenes required CGI enhancement and only one scene involved wire work.[3] Wire work was also added to one of the last fight sequences between Li and Cyril Raffaelli, only to add clarity to Raffaelli's kicks, as he was moving too fast for the camera. Nahon was also required to slow down this fight scene, as both Li and Raffaelli moved too quickly to be captured clearly at normal recording speed.[2] The film is actually based on a story by Li.[3]



Liu Siu-jian (Jet Li), a Chinese intelligence agent, is sent and assigned to Paris to help apprehend Chinese mob boss Mr. Big (Ric Young), who is involved in heroin smuggling. He meets Inspector Jean-Pierre Richard (Tchéky Karyo), a corrupt and violent French police detective, at a hotel. Richard tricks Liu into believing he is simply providing reconnaissance of a meet involving Mr. Big. The plans are changed when Mr. Big is introduced to two prostitutes, one being Jessica Kamen (Bridget Fonda), an American woman, who take him to his room to service him. Mr. Big was so hungry for sexual pleasure that he would only allow his henchmen to check his room for one minute. Jessica was not comfortable but her co worker encourages her. The prostitute began to strip and played the song, "Shake Your Ass." The first prostitute first removes her black trench coat and dances in her red silky oriental mini-dress. She empties her cocaine on the coffee table and strips off her dress, revealing to be wearing black lacy lingerie with black fishnet pantyhose. Jessica finally strips off her coat and reveals to be wearing a turquoise mini dress with black sheer pantyhose. While Liu and the rest were watching through the surveillance camera, Mr. Big kicks everyone out except for the two prostitutes, While the prostitute is on top of Mr. Big, she attempts to murder him. Witnessing the events from a surveillance room, Liu rushes to stop the prostitute. Richard enters shortly later, only to shoot Mr. Big and the prostitute with Liu's police-issue handgun, framing Liu for the murders.

Realizing he has been set up, Liu manages to escape from the hotel with a surveillance tape showing Richard shooting Mr. Big. Chinese liaisons are sent to France after the events to investigate the matter, as Richard makes Liu the primary suspect. However, the liaisons do not believe the story Richard provides. Liu manages to contact one of the liaisons, in an attempt to pass on the tape to reveal the truth. Due to French police surveillance, the meet between the liaison and Liu is spotted, and the liaison is assassinated. During Liu's escape, he loses the tape in the chaos, and is forced to maintain a low profile.

As he thinks over his situation, he meets Jessica, whose daughter was kidnapped by Richard to force her into prostitution. Liu discovers Jessica was the second prostitute at the hotel during the night of Mr. Big's murder. He realizes she can prove his innocence, but she refuses to go without her retrieving her daughter, Isabel. Liu decides the tape would provide the best evidence, and sends Jessica to Richard's office to steal the tape. Jessica manages to get the tape, so Liu and Jessica head to an orphanage where Isabel is kept. However, Richard anticipates this move after discovering Jessica has stolen the tape, and ambushes the couple at the orphanage. During their escape, Jessica is shot in the chest. Liu manages to get her to the hospital in time, and becomes driven to retrieve her daughter. Liu arrives at the police station where Richard is holding Isabel hostage, and fights his way through Richard's henchmen to his office. Once at the office, Liu rescues Isabel, getting shot by Richard in the process. To save Isabel, Liu kills Richard by sticking an acupuncture needle at the back of Richard's neck, in a forbidden location known as the "kiss of the dragon," which stimulates all the body's blood to travel to the brain to cause a painful death via a brain aneurysm. Liu survives the gunshot wound, and returns Jessica's daughter back to her mother.

Origin of Title

The title "Kiss of the Dragon" is derived from one of the last scenes in the movie, in which Liu punctures Richard in the back of the neck with an acupuncture needle at a "very forbidden" point on the body. The puncture itself is called "kiss of the dragon", which traps all the body's blood in the head, causing side effects of quadriplegia and bleeding from the head's orifices, and a painful death via a brain aneurysm.

This killing method was featured in the climactic scene of the 1970s science fiction novel The Face, by Jack Vance. However, in that novel, the needle bore a poison which caused the death.

It was also referenced in another martial arts movie, DOA: Dead or Alive, when the protagonist, Princess Kasumi, pierces a needle into the same spot on the villain, Donovan. Donovan also suffers paralysis, but perishes in an explosion before the full effects are observed.


  • Jet Li — Liu Siu-jian
  • Bridget Fonda — Jessica Kamen
  • Tchéky Karyo — Jean-Pierre Richard
  • Max Ryan — Lupo
  • Ric Young — Mister Big
  • Burt Kwouk — Uncle Tai
  • Laurence Ashley — Aja
  • Cyril Raffaelli — Twin
  • Didier Azoulay — Twin
  • John Forgeham — Max
  • Paul Barrett — Pilot
  • Colin Prince — Lupo's Assistant
  • Vincent Glo — Pluto
  • Vincent Wong — Minister Tang
  • Kentaro Yuji Yamashita — Chen

Box office

Kiss of the Dragon opened at 2,025 North American theatres on July 6, 2001 to an opening weekend gross of $13,304,027 ($6,569 per screen). It went on to a total North American gross of $36,845,124.

Its total worldwide box office gross is $64,437,847.


  1. "Mystikal Fever" - Mystikal
  2. "Lapdance" - N.E.R.D.
  3. "Aerodynamic" (Slum Village remix) - Daft Punk
  4. "F*ck That" - Evans, L.
  5. "What You Got?" - Chino XL
  6. "Sing" - Brunson-Hollinger,
  7. "Cheatin'" - Liberty City
  8. "Don't Blame on I" - Myton, Cedric(The Congos)
  9. "Ghir Dini" - Assia
  10. "As If You Said Nothing" - Craig Armstrong
  11. "Adore You" - Barbuscia, Lisa


External links

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