It pays to run a background check on someone before you frame them for something.
Liu (Jet Li) is an undercover cop sent to Paris to assist the police there with some undercover sting operation. Things quickly go South when he is framed by the corrupt cops and spends the rest of the movie a wanted man in a foreign land. I quite like the story in this one as it is one of those rare action flicks where there is no traditional love story to get in the way. Jet Li is in good fighting form here and all parties involved are on the higher than average acting scale for me. This movie also holds one of my favourite fight scenes of all time, which is Jet Li vs "the twins", one of whom is played by Cyril Raffaelli.
Cyril vs Jet
No it's not a flawless movie by any means. Liu's ninja mastery is a little too good to be believed, being able to suddenly escape from what I would think are "challenging" locations, his funky use of acupuncture needles, and his magical shield which somehow protects him from bullets. You also have to question the final part where he simply decides to go on an all out attack. Probably could have done that a lot sooner dude! Still it's a decent action flick and one I give three spinning kicks out of five. Definitely would like to watch it again!
The best way to make friends is to beat them up.
Hong (Cung Le) is an excon trying to clean up the town of St. Jude from all the gangs, by beating them into submission. That's the whole "meat" of the story right there, and while Peter Weller makes for a good "bad guy", Cung is not charismatic enough to carry the film, nor is his fighting style "pretty" to watch. It's mostly just beat downs with no form which while probably being more realistic, is not as entertaining. The pointless opening credits with a car filler sequence should have been a hint.
Can you check if I stepped on some gum?
But, Van Damme is there right? Yes, in what seems to be an extended flashback cameo where he mentors Cung Le on how to fight. Doesn't look like you taught him how to do the split kick, Jean Claude. The editing is slightly wonky here too, which I think is intentional to disguise that there's not actually much going on.
Unfortunately what little story there is also makes no sense as gangs quickly concede leadership to Hong, who apparently is a skilled burglar though we never see him actually burgle anything, and almost everyone either forgets to use guns, or capitulated with Hong's "leadership decision" to stop using them. Eh?
After finishing with an abrupt end I could only feel pity, as this probably could have been something much better than what it turned out to be. Unless you are a martial arts buff that likes Cung Le then you'd best be skipping this movie. I can only give it one sparring session out of five and do not want to see it again.