The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1525  Thursday, 17 August 2000.

From:           Jeff Newberry <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 16 Aug 2000 13:34:29 EDT
Subject:        Romeo Must Die

I saw a movie last night entitled Romeo Must Die.  At first, I didn't
think much of the title, thinking that it was probably leaning more
toward the cultural definition of Romeo--that is, a lovesick young man
(and I suppose we stole that from Shakespeare, too).  As I watched the
movie, however, I began to see some parallels between this movie and
R&J.  The plot of Romeo Must Die revolved around two rival gangs, one of
Chinese and one of Blacks.  They are fighting over waterfront property
because of a big business deal with a professional football club that
wants to build a stadium there.  Nonetheless, when Han (Jet Li),
currently in a Chinese prison when the movie starts, finds out that his
brother has been killed, he travels to America to find his brother's
killer.  Han immediately falls in love with the rival's daughter, Julie
(pop singer Aaliyah).  They get into lots of fights, kiss, and save the
day at the end.  I think the director (not sure who it was) was nodding
to Shakespeare in several scenes, most notably a showdown between one of
the head thugs for the Black gang and Han himself, a duel that included
dialogue reminiscent of the Romeo/Tybalt showdown.

The movie was interesting, a martial arts extravaganza that rivaled any
John Woo film.  There were these great X-ray shots of bones breaking
whenever an unfortunate soul got hit a little too hard.  One can also
find quite a few shoot-outs and car chases, enough to make Baz Luhrman
Well, just thought you all would enjoy hearing about this film.  The
question, however, is whether or not this movie is an adaptation of
R&J.  What do you think?

Jeff Newberry
University of West Florida

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