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The Replacement Killers (1998)
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Review Date: August 09, 1998
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Ken Sanzel
Producers: Bernie Brillstein and Brad Grey
Actors:
Chow Yun-Fat as John Lee
Mira Sorvino as Meg Coburn
Michael Rooker as Stan
Plot:
Hitman Lee (Yun-Fat) must kill a police officer's son for his gangster boss Mr. Wei. Before he kills the child, he develops a conscience, and skips his task of murder. Mr. Wei is not happy with his killer employee, and sends in some "replacement killers" to finish him off, as well as the cop's kid. Lee must do battle with other killers, while attempting to return home to his endangered family in China, with the assistance of passport forger Coburn (Sorvino).
Critique:
Do you like guns? Do you like the gunplay? If your answers to the previous two questions were a resounding "yes", then I suggest you get up off your ass, jog over to your nearest video store, and rent this gun smokin' fun-fest! If you're one that enjoys the plot of a movie, the deep characterization of man and woman, and the existential meaning of life, then I suggest you remain seated, and move onto another review. This bullet-emblazoned film is all noize and explosions, and anything but stimulus for your cerebral matter.

This movie is also filmed like a MTV music video, with the required hip eclectic soundtrack, a dark moody look with sporadic use of green and red filters, and the obligatory Tony Scott-famed rainfall. It also boasts the required short runtime (less than 90 minutes- flat), an extreme use of slo-motion when the bullets and the bodies are a-flyin', and the less than impressive emphasis on plot. If there was a plot, that is. Oh yeah, hitman develops conscience: Now, let's kill hitman. Slap in some Sorvino running around in a bra for most of the film, and you've got yourself a nacho-munching fool-fest for all those willing to drop their brains off at the door (Guilty as charged.)

Yun-Fat's rookie American performance is also pretty lame in this movie, with his entire dialogue based around three word monotone sentences. Michael Rooker as the good cop plays Michael Rooker as the good cop, and the rest of the cast is basically just a heap of bodies to be counted later. Did I mention that there were a lot of gunfights? In the tradition of the master himself, John Woo (co-executive producer on this one), Fuqua also wastes no time in between gunplay scenes. Fat walks into a hotel. Gun fight. Fat walks into an arcade. Gun fight. Fat walks into a car wash. Gun fight. Highly stylized gunfights mind you, but perpetual gunfights nonetheless. All in all, this is the kind of stuff that seems to be receding our kids into the lobotomous zones that we recognize them in sometimes. On the other hand, if this is your taste of salsa, don't let me stand in the way of a man, his cheese and his monster bag o' nachos!
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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