The Replacement Killers
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Chow Yun-Fat plays John Lee, a Chinese mob hit man who disobeys his boss when he sends him on an assignment which he canít bring himself to take on. Furious, the boss puts out a contract on our main manís family in China. Bent on reaching them first, Lee teams up with a dangerous document forger (Sorvino) who has a few nasty surprises of her own.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
If there is one thing that Iíve learned over the years, itís that you can pretty much never go wrong with Chow Yun-Fat. This guy can lead a movie with only a few lines and his cool, calm fighting style puts him a sharp contrast with the lightning quick youngsters from other Kung-Fu movies. Heís definitely very cool and intimidating in this fast-paced, action packed assassin story. Running at a quick and appreciated 88 minutes, this movie never slows down and keeps your mental belly full of great kicks and punches. Sorvino, although never one of my favorites (until this), plays her character perfectly. Like any good underworld document forger, you can never really be sure that you trust her at any point in the film. The unlikely duo faces off against some pretty impressive opposition, led by JŁrgen Prochnow (Das Boot), German actor Til Schweiger (Driven) and a perennial favorite of mine, the creepy-looking Danny Trejo (Heat).
The constant confrontations take on an extra twist when a cop named Zeedo completes the set of players in this game of hide & seek. Played by Michael Rooker, in one of his rare roles as a non-asshole, Zeedo is involved in a plot more sinister than he would ever care to imagineÖ surprise, surpriseÖ Aside from that, the movie is devoid of any major flaws. The only thing that personally annoys me in movies where the central characters are Asian is that they are all made out to be so stereotypically spiritual and absorbed in Buddhism and strange healing methods. Hey man, Iíve been to Chinese peopleís houses, and there were no giant statues of Buddha, one out of every two of them wasnít a Monk and they didnít heal their wounds by rubbing chicken feet on their heads.
Not a bad plate of dip but not necessarily anything extraordinary either. We begin with a feature-length commentary by director Antoine Fuqua. Itís pretty regular as he goes through the motions of discussing the idea, then the casting, the project, then some anecdotes, and so on and so forth. Nothing special. I donít really like commentaries when thereís just one guy, they tend to drag on. Following that is a 10-minute documentary entitled HBO Making of: Where The Action is. Very standard, you once again get the story about the casting decisions, some plot background, some production footage, everybody giving each other slaps on the back. I guess in 10 minutes, itís pretty much all you can fit.
If youíre a fan of Chow Yun-Fat, as I am, youíll definitely enjoy the next slice of pie. Chow Yun-Fat Goes Hollywood is a 20-minute featurette that talks pretty much just about the steel-eyed tough-guy and his transition from the Hong Kong scene to Hollywood. Pretty cool. If you have any questions about the guy, youíll get some answers there. Next in the batting order is a set of six deleted or extended scenes. Shown in rough footage, some of them add stylish elements while some add nothing. Worth a look, since theyíre all short and if you donít like them, you havenít wasted an hour. An alternate ending is also there, although the only thing youíll really get out of it is an appreciation for the cutting room floor. Aside from that, the usual suspects are there in the form of trailers and filmographies.
Good movie, good DVD. If youíre into the action movie type, then this would definitely be a worthwhile rental. If youíre a Chow-Yun Fat fan, then you might want to buy this one and watch him kick asses over and over again. Overall, a very satisfying experienceÖ