By: John M Jerva
Welcome to the fifth installment of Firepower Fridays as we take a look at some of the most explosive, in your face, bullet filled action sequences in cinematic history!
I should call this installment of Firepower Fridays Firepower Saturday instead as I am a day late with it but it’s been one hectic week with work, doing three reviews and working on three interviews all at the same time. But here I am still standing and even though I’m late it’s the thought that counts right? So let’s get started as we talk about the 1998 bullet infested action classic The Replacement Killers which is the movie that is personally responsible for introducing the iconic Chow Yun-Fat to Western audiences. Before this movie, Fat was indeed a man that was whorshiped in counttries where audiences whorship action like a religion and I was already a fan of his because I was fortunate enough to have seen his earlier Hong Kong efforts he did with John Woo like The Killer and Hard Boiled with the latter being arguably one of the best action films ever. Fat was a master at cinema gun play and his trademark double barreled pistol action is the stuff of legends.
How would Fat’s signature action translateover to American audiences? Well, I can safely say (and in my opinion) that evn though the action is a little tamer here, it still shows off Fat in true form. I say tamer because it’s no secret that Hong Kong action cinema is best known for their crazy, over the top stunts and it makes sense that the West wiuld play it a little safe but that’s OK because we still get to see Mr. Fat kick all kinds of ass for the entire running time.
In the film, Fat plays John Lee, a legendary hitman who, when he refuses to execute a cop played by the great Michael Rooker in a supporting role, must go on the run from mthe very people that employed him as they send two replacement killers (Til Schweiger and the iconic Danny Tejo) to finish the job and take out Lee in the process. On the run and looking to survive, Lee teams up with an expert counterfitter played by Mira Sorvino and the two wage war on the criminal underworld while trying to keep the cop and themselves alive.
The Replacement Killers was helmed by Antoine Fuqua who has gone on to direct many great action films like Tears of the Sun, Training Day and The Equalizer films with DenzelWashington. Fuqua showed early on that he had a natural flair for visuals and shooting action and he does give Fat ample opportunity to look his best in the film’s numerous action set pieces.
The movie has wall to wall action but I chose the first scene that Lee meets Meg Coburn (Sorvino) as the second wave of killers closes in. This scene has enough ammo mspent to make any action nfan happy and it also shows that Meg can dish itiut with a gun as well as she is forced to help Lee out of the situation. The action comes fast and heavy and Fat looks to be in cruise control just like always as the bullets begin to fly around him. No one can do it better that Fat and tis film did him justice even if it didn’t reach the insane heights of his earlier Hong Kong efforts.
Now that’s enpugh talk on the subject. Time to watch action god Chow Yun-Fat go ballistic in the intense building shootout from The Replacement Killers! Don’t forget, Foot Fist Fridays will be back next week to satisfy your need for unarmed martial arts combat carnage!