HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
Druids
War of the Wizards
Onward
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Luck of Ginger Coffey, The
Junkers Come Here
Ladius
White, White Day, A
Strong Medicine
Bitter Springs
Centipede Horror
Physical Evidence
Fanny Lye Deliver'd
55 Days at Peking
Alive
Man from Snowy River, The
Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo
Girl with the Bracelet, The
Monster from a Prehistoric Planet
   
 
Newest Articles
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
   
 
  Replacement Killers, The Chowing The Fat
Year: 1998
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Stars: Chow Yun-Fat, Mira Sorvino, Michael Rooker, Kenneth Tsang, Jurgen Prochnow, Til Schweiger, Danny Trejo, Clifton Collins Jr, Carlos Gómez, Frank Medrano, Leo Lee, Patrick Kilpatrick, Randall Duk Kim, Andrew J. Marton, Sydney Coberly, Al Leong
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: A nightclub in Los Angeles, and the patrons are enjoying their evening out, but one man is not there for pleasure, he is there for business. John Lee (Chow Yun-Fat) steps through the crowd and advances on the gangster who is lording it over the dancers, seated at his personal table with his henchmen all around - you would have to be crazy to try anything here, wouldn't you? But Lee is not crazy, he's purely determined, he has a lot at stake and will have to carry out his hitman role if he wants to save his family back in China, so walks straight over to the gangster, places a bullet with a symbol on it on the table in front of him, and before the man knows what is happening, he is blown away by Lee's handgun.

So far, what you would expect from a Chow Yun-Fat movie, he has the suit, he has the gun, he has a bunch of bad guys to eliminate, but The Replacement Killers was not your ordinary effort from the great action star. It was his attempt to make it big in Hollywood movies, and proved a tricky proposition, far trickier than the studio anticipated as while director Antoine Fuqua did his level best to stick with the style of the Hong Kong classics that had made Chow's name, those were not what American audiences were used to watching. It did not matter that many of the rest of the world who lapped up the action from out of Hong Kong were quite happy with what he got up to on the big screen, the test audiences in the States effectively sabotaged this.

After extensive re-editing that reduced this to the bare bones of gunfight setpieces interspersed with the minimum of plot, the studio was happy - then they released it and it flopped thanks to them not allowing Fuqua, who by all accounts would have been fine left to his own devices, to have his way and trust Chow to deliver his definitive cool (though he was obviously struggling with English). One of the elements those test audiences insisted on removing was the love interest, a forger called Meg, played by Mira Sorvino, who in the final cut, and even the extended cut, was left to participate in the gunplay and service Lee with passports and documents, but nothing you get the impression that was vital to the story, certainly not what justified Sorvino, a recent Oscar-winner, showing up.

If a romance had been allowed, it would have bolstered the relationship between Lee and Meg, while adding that ingredient that left Hong Kong action with its je ne sais quoi: the romanticism. There was little space for that unironic element in American genre efforts, or if there was it was purely included to leave no room for doubt in the audience's minds the hero was no homosexual, but remove it and you were left with a significantly shallower experience. Watching The Replacement Killers was not a rich experience, it was about as deep as your average computer game adaptation, and though Fuqua managed some accomplished scenes of violence that prevented it from growing dull, there was a feeling you were sitting through the cinematic equivalent of a rock tribute act.

As far as that plot went, a try at sentiment was elicited in the reason the bad guys were after Lee: not because he had offed that gangster at the beginning, that was what he was supposed to do, but what he was not ended up targeting him. Detective Michael Rooker was proving a problem for Lee's boss Kenneth Tsang, another criminal boss, so Lee was ordered to perform a hit on the cop's young son, something he cannot bring himself to do once he has the boy in his crosshairs, therefore must go on the run. To do that he needs the passport, which was where Sorvino entered the picture, the sole significant female character and not really that significant when it came down to it, so more or less the sole motive to settle down with this was those action sequences, though they too felt like a careful copy rather than a living, breathing original, even with John Woo as one of an army of producers. The following year, The Matrix proved Hong Kong techniques could succeed in Hollywood, and this was left as a footnote. The music by Harry Gregson-Williams is pretty decent, however.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1467 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
  Hannah Prosser
   

 

Last Updated: