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Romeo must die

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

In a world of vicious rivalries and violent betrayals only one thing is sure.

It's Romeo and Juliet, but with a modern twist. Romeo must die revolves around an African-American and an Asian gang whose truce breaks down and starts a bloody war in the streets of Oakland, California. Two people from the rival families, Han Sing (Jet Li) and Trish O'Day (Aaliyah), try to bring peace between their families and fall in love in the process.

Persons of interest

  • Jet Li .... Han Sing
  • Aaliyah .... Trish O'Day
  • Isaiah Washington .... Mac
  • Russell Wong .... Kai
  • DMX .... Silk
  • Delroy Lindo .... Isaak O'Day
  • DB Woodside .... Colin O'Day
  • Henry O .... Ch'u Sing
  • Jonkit Lee .... Po Sing
  • Edoardo Ballerini .... Vincent Roth
  • Anthony Anderson .... Maurice
  • Matthew Harrison .... Dave
  • Terry Chen .... Kung
  • Benz Antoine .... Crabman
  • Chang Tseng .... Victor Ho
  • William Shakespeare .... Playwright
  • Eric Bernt'''
  • Mitchell Kapner .... Screenwriter
  • Andrzej Bartkowiak .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Not Romeo + Juliet.

While Shakespeare's greatest play is clearly the basis for Romeo must die, if you go expecting something like Baz Luhrmann's version you'll be sorely disappointed. This is not thee and thou in Chinatown, it's a classic story of gangsters, betrayals, love and explosions that resonates somewhat uncomfortably with its Elizabethan counterpart (See also Shakespeare in love).

There are some great fight and action sequences, especially from Jet, with an ingenuity that approaches the master of all fight movies, Jackie Chan. Approaches, I say, because with Jackie everything is believable; in Romeo must die, there is a need for willing suspension of disbelief (ie the fights are as much entertainment as they are exhibitions of skill). The shooting and exploding bits are satisfying but not outstandingly original. How many ways can an explosion explode?

As for the acting, well, it's better than you'd expect from an action film. Han is a nice young man, the kind you might take home to your mother, until he's up against the wall and then he's a changed man, the kind you'd want with you in a dark alley. Get your minds out of the gutter: I am implying that he'd make a good protector, not a casual al fresco root. Trish is a pretty shop girl caught up in dealings far darker than she desires. She's been hardened by the death of her mother and having gangsters for father and brother, but there's a playful quality that lurks beneath the attitude.

If you like action, you'll like Romeo must die; if you don't, you won't, it's as simple as that.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: (Dolby Surround 5.1)
  • Disc: 16:9 lb dual layer
  • Features:
    • Anatomy of a stunt
    • Diary of a (legal) mad bomber special effects man
    • DVD-ROM:
      • Chat room
      • Interactive A martial arts experience challenge
      • Trailers
      • Web events
      • Web site
    • HBO first-look special Making "Romeo must die"
    • Inside the visual effects process
    • Interactive game A martial arts experience
    • Making Aaliyah's "Try again" video
    • Music videos:
      • Try again by Aaliyah
      • Come back in one piece by Aaliyah and DMX
    • Short documentaries
    • The sound stage
    • Trailers
  • Picture: Widescreen 2.35:1
  • Languages: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French, Italian, Dutch, Arabic, Spanish, German

Security censorship classification

M (Medium level violence, medium level coarse language)

Surveillance time

111 minutes (1:51 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

DVD rental: 21 November 2001
VHS rental: 21 November 2001

Cinema surveillance images

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