Ballistic Kiss (1998)

Ballistic Kiss (1998) DVD Cover


4 Stars out of 5 Stars

Directed by:

Donnie Yen Ji-Dan


Donnie Yen Ji-DanCat
Annie Wu Chen ChunCarrie
Jimmy Wong Ga LokWesley
Yu Rong Guang (as Yu Wing Kwong)Apartment killer
Vincent Kok
Simon Lui
Lily Chow

Original Story by:

Bey Logan

Martial Art Director:

Donnie Yen Ji-Dan




Video Signal:


Ballistic Kiss satirizes the hired killer genre with a socially inept "hero" who fails utterly to be Chow Yun-Fat and its artsy camera work, reflecting images in Yen's glasses and pretentiously book ending the movie in black and white.

Cat (Donnie Yen) is a geeky (wrong glasses, wrong clothes, Gigeresque art) ace assassin; "I never miss." He can kill a roof full of thugs with a derringer, in a stunning fight sequence, but he can't date Carrie, a woman from across the street. He can't even talk to her, he just calls Simon's radio show and talks about her. Once a NY City cop, a new job offers Cat an opportunity to go after Wesley, the smoother, handsomer partner who framed him and sent him to prison. Cat puts seven rounds into Wesley, point blank, without observing Wesley's bulletproof vest.

Carrie is a cop on the task force after Cat. Just as introverted as Cat, she spends her rare off duty time listening to Simon's show, in lieu of making a real connection.

The police are curious why the assassin went after the security man instead of the boss but Wesley feigns ignorance. Cat sees Wesley putting the moves on Carrie and supposes they are intimate. He tries to shoot Wesley right there on the street, fails, and abducts Carrie in attempt to wound the heartless Wesley. Kudos to Annie Wu for her performance. While Carrie is held by Cat, Carrie feigns Stockholm Syndrome yet conveys ambivalence at what she must do to get along with the nut job who has taken her.

As a character study, Ballistic Kiss is fascinating. Rarely are movie protagonists so blatantly dumb as a post. Being framed and sent to prison by your slick partner is a common enough cinema occurrence but shooting the same guy seven times, up close and personal, and not observing the lack of blood takes real cluelessness. Yet the film never lets on that it is a joke until the very end when Cat fatally reaches for his glasses.

The rooftop massacre is excellent. The climactic showdown defies physics a little too much but is entertaining. The remaining fight sequences are disappointingly murky. The acting, however, is top notch. Jimmy Wong is slickly despicable and Yen directs himself as a total dweeb.

Of course, it might not be a satire.


Thumbnail of Cat (Donnie Yen Ji-Dan) taking a breather on a vanquished foe
Cat (Donnie Yen Ji-Dan) takes a breather on a vanquished foe (~23K)

Thumbnail of Wesley (Jimmy Wong Ga Lok) sweet talking Carrie (Annie Wu Chen Chun)
Wesley (Jimmy Wong Ga Lok) sweet talks Carrie (Annie Wu Chen Chun) (~22K)

Thumbnail of Cat (Donnie Yen Ji-Dan) abducting Carrie (Annie Wu Chen Chun) on the street
Cat (Donnie Yen Ji-Dan) abducts Carrie (Annie Wu Chen Chun) on the street (~32K)

Thumbnail of Another killer (Yu Rong Guang) coming after Cat
Another killer (Yu Rong Guang) comes after Cat (~24K)

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