The Replacement Killers
Yung-Fat Chow, Mira Sorvino, Michael Rooker
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
88 minutes

The Replacement Killers was first seen in 1998. I was surprised to see that I had this movie to review, but I guess it is one of those new DVD releases that give bonus features that were not available on the original VHS release. My assumption was right, yet I rediscovered a movie that I had enjoyed a few years ago and the “extended cut” version makes it even more enjoyable.

To put things in perspective, The Replacement Killers was directed by Antoine Fuqua who is a legend in the advertising business. When he was asked to do this movie, he saw an opportunity to do in a two hour movie what he must normally create in a thirty second ad (as you’ll learn in the “making of” special feature of the DVD).

The Replacement Killers also features Chow Yun-Fat, who plays the role of John Lee in the film. He also gets a featurette on the DVD titled “Chow Yun-Fat Goes Hollywood”. Chow Yun-Fat has a strong following among Hong-Kong film fans, but as I watched the featurette after the movie I realised that he pioneered a lot of visual effects (along with his former director John Woo) which are now commonplace in cool films and videogames. For example, he has popularised the two-hand handgun shots now popular in many videogames, as well as “Matrix-like” slow-motion ballet moves during action scenes. He also keeps his cool no matter what the situation is and his acting skills make it believable.

Speaking of acting skills, he plays opposite Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino, who won best supporting actress for Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite. Mira Sorvino’s skills help complement Chow Yun-Fat’s experience in movie making. In this film she is quite the opposite of the not-too-bright character she played in Mighty Aphrodite. She’s more of a street-smart sexy criminal. Even if Chow Yun-Fat was new in North America when he performed this role, he still shows how much he has character, and he holds his own with an Academy Award winner. It must say he surprised me.

If the story is what you are interested in, it won’t disappoint you either. It’s the story of two characters who haven’t been treated well in life. John Lee (Chow Yun-Fat) is a hired killer who kills thugs to keep Tenrence Wei, a Chinese drug lord, from killing his family. Meg Coburn is a document forger who despite herself gets caught up in the action after John refuses a contract from Wei and decides to save his family in China. The rest of the film is a non-stop action sequence which also features great acting from the two stars of the movie as well as the obvious fight between good and evil. It’s an intelligent action movie, which we unfortunately don’t see too much nowadays.

If, like me, you haven’t seen the movie for a while, it is well worth watching, and could become a keeper for your action movie collection.


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