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MARCH 28, 2000: 

ROMEO MUST DIE. People who live under the disempowered delusion that "violence doesn't solve anything" have never enjoyed a Jet Li movie. Here, the kick-ass Black Mask hero breaks out of a Hong Kong prison to avenge his brother's death on the mean streets of San Francisco. Rival black and Chinese gang warfare provide the backdrop for this über-violet ballet of martial arts, automatic weapons, expensive car crashes and high-powered explosives. The only parts that hurt, though, are Isaiah Washington and D.B. Woodside's cringingly bad dialogue. Despite the hangings, betrayals, innocent deaths and gunshot wounds, this remains a good-natured action-comedy built on Republican family values like free enterprise and the power of patriarchy. Woo hoo! As Li says while buying weapons and stealing cars on the open market, "What a country!" Also starring Aaliyah, Delroy Lindo and Russel Wong. -- Mari Wadsworth


TITUS. Shakespeare's worst play, Titus Andronicus, is here given the over-the-top, Ken Russell-style treatment it deserves. A wildly zany and sick romp through a motorcycle punk rock version of ancient Rome, with lots of mutilations and orgies and murders and cannibalism. Extremely trashy, pretty and oh-so-fun to watch, in exactly the way a Jacobean revenge drama ought to be. Whoever designed the sets and costumes should be given a leather-studded Academy Award. -- James DiGiovanna


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