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"Romeo Must Die," "Whatever it Takes," "Here on Earth," "Gun Shy," and on video, "Plunkett & Macleane"

Quick Flicks

!B! "Romeo Must Die"
!B! "Whatever It Takes"
!B! "Here On Earth"
!B! "Gun Shy"

Now On Video!B! "Plunkett & Macleane"

"Romeo Must Die" — If you've been needing a mega-jolt of kick-butt kung fu, then "Romeo Must Die" is the film fix for you. Forget the plot, the only reason to plunk down your hard-earned money is to catch Jet Li ("Lethal Weapon 4's" saving grace) do what he does best. Hip-hop star Aaliyah does a nice turn as the daughter of Li's family rival. When they meet by coincidence, Li's character has no idea she's the daughter of the man (Delroy Lindo) who may have sanctioned his brother's murder. But the less-than-inspired story is only there to kill time between the fight sequences, which are pretty amazing, thanks to the creative martial arts choreography from the team who brought us "The Matrix." For fans of flying feet and fists of fury only.

"Whatever It Takes" — Resident school Lothario, Chris ("Freaks and Geek's" James Franco), is cousin to the school's midriff-baring boy trap Ashley (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe). When Chris sets his sights on sweet Maggie ("The Practice's" Marla Sokoloff), he enlists the aid of Maggie's best bud Ryan (Shane West). See, just like every other red-blooded young man at school, Ryan dreams of wooing and winning the fair Ashley. Ryan helps Chris get the inside track with Maggie, and Chris helps smooth the way for Ryan with Ashley. But instead of any timeless truths about romance or love, screenwriter Mark Schwahn goes for cheap laughs about groin injuries, hookers, oral sex and bedpans.

"Here On Earth" — Thanks to two appealing stars, this teen romantic tragedy fares better than most. It bears a striking resemblance to "Love Story," but stars LeeLee Sobieski and Chris Klein work hard to breathe life into this tale of opposites attracting. Klein is preppie Kelley Morse; Sobieski is the small-town girl Samantha.

But Samantha's got a boyfriend who doesn't take to Kelley flirting with his girl. One thing leads to another and the two are drag-racing through town. The race ends when they destroy the town diner. Ordered by the court to rebuild the diner, Kelley and his local rival must work together all summer. And that spells trouble for Sobieski who falls hard for Kelley.

As the two fight the feeling and then succumb, Sobieski contracts a rare type of cancer that only strikes pretty young heroines in romantic tragedies. "Here On Earth" wants to be much more than what it is, a predictable tear-jerker aimed at an audience still young enough to believe tragedies only happen in the movies.

"Gun Shy" — No wonder actor Liam Neeson decided to stop acting for a while. First his rather stilted turn in "The Phantom Menace," then his ridiculously uninspired turn in "The Haunting," and now this ill-conceived attempt to bring potty-humor to the adult level. In fact, Neeson begins this movie sprawled on a restroom floor, blathering to a toilet.

He's Charlie, a stressed-out, undercover DEA agent who suffers from crippling flatulence. After a therapeutic enema from nurse Sandra Bullock, the two start dating. Meanwhile, it seems Charlie's worst nightmare, Mafia don Oliver Platt, also suffers from bashful bathroom foibles. His particular problem? Prostate woes. Maybe in the right hands this could have been funnier.

Now on Video

"Plunkett & Macleane" — Since this hybrid mix of "Butch Cassidy" meets "Barry Lyndon" never made it to a screen in Richmond, here's your chance to check it out. Robert Carlyle is one of a pair of highwaymen in the mid-18th century (Johnny Lee Miller, the other) who rob from the rich and find themselves embroiled in political intrigue. Liv Tyler is the rich girl who falls for Carlyle and his daring ways. It's based on the lives of real highwaymen, and director Jake Scott fills the screen with period-perfect details which almost make up for the lackluster script.

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