Rapid Fire | aka Moving Target (1992) Review

"Rapid Fire" American Theatrical Poster

"Rapid Fire" American Theatrical Poster

Director: Dwight H. Little
Writer: Cindy Cirile, Alan B. McElroy
Producer: John Fasano, Robert Lawrence
Cast: Brandon Lee, Powers Boothe, Nick Mancuso, Raymond J. Barry, Kate Hodge, Tzi Ma, Tony Longo, Michael Paul Chan, Dustin Nguyen, Brigitta Stenberg, Basil Wallace, Al Leong, François Chau, Quentin O’Brien, D.J. Howard

By Numskull

A VHS copy of the last movie Brandon Lee completed can probably be found in the bargain bin of your local Blockbuster or Walmart (North America only), and though I wouldn’t label it a “classic” or a “masterpiece”, I will say that I think it deserves a slightly better fate than that. All things considered, it’s a “B” grade film through and through, but it’s still moderately fun and the action is pretty solid.

None of the acting is really good, but the only significant performance that stands out as really BAD is Kate Hodge’s. About two-thirds of the way through the movie, she and Brandon Lee have one of the most ridiculously spontaneous, totally unnecessary, and brazenly gratuitous sex scenes in the history of motion pictures. I’m not some tight-ass who screams bloody murder at the sight of a naked breast, but…come ON. They’re like, “Well honey, the movie’s been going for an hour now, give or take a few minutes, and we’ve had about 45 seconds of screen time together. I think it’s high time we exchanged bodily fluids.”

The limp story isn’t worth describing in great detail, but I did find Jake Lo’s transformation from a free-thinking loner into a gloriously heroic figure willing to risk it all for a fashionably noble cause quite nauseating. Good thing we don’t watch this stuff to think deep thoughts. In fact, the deepest though I have here is whether or not Jackie Chan would have called the action bits copied from Police Story “flattering” in his autobiography if Brandon had been alive when it was written.

The fighting, shooting and so forth are frequent and good enough to hold your interest through the slow parts. Just don’t expect anything too epic.

Not bad for a movie of this type. Better than some Van Damme shit, that’s for sure. Give it a try if you’re bored sometime and you can’t clip your toenails any more.

Numskull’s Rating: 6/10

By James H.

Brandon Lee’s penultimate film was Dwight Little’s “Rapid Fire”. It can be seen as almost a tribute to HK action films. It tries to combine the gun fights of John Woo flicks and the martial arts of Jackie Chan (look for references to “Police Story”). The film succeeds as an attempt to cash in on HK-style action, but that’s it really.

Brandon Lee stars as Jake Lo, an arts student in LA. He is asked to speak at a rally against China and that whole Tiennamen Square fiasco. While there, he witnesses a murder by a mob boss. The Feds then ship Jake off to Chicago to testify. Things do not go so smoothly when the baddies try to kill Jake; lots of punching and kicking (obviously) ensues.

Brandon stands out in this film. His acting abilities have developed very well since the days of “Legacy of Rage”. His character is surprisingly well developed for a movie of this nature. Unfortunately, that means the rest of the characters suffer from this. Personally, I would like to have seen the relationship between Brandon and Powers Boothe (a cop with the wonderful soap opera name Mace Ryan) been developed further.

Dwight Little (“Murder at 1600”, “Marked For Death”) does a decent job with the action scenes, but the gun fights suffer from being somewhat uninteresting and rather generic. “Rapid Fire” is at its best when Brandon is kicking ass. The martial arts scenes, choreographed by Lee and, pay homage to some of Jackie Chan’s films, as I said earlier.

“Rapid Fire” is Brandon Lee’s second last, and second best film (“The Crow” wins the number one spot). It’s a good, fun action movie, although at times it follows action movie cliches a little too closely from time to time.

James H’s Rating: 6.5/10

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2 Responses to Rapid Fire | aka Moving Target (1992) Review

  1. DougWonnacott says:

    I thought that despite all the cliches and Powers Boothe’s over the top performance, it’s a cut above the other american MA films from this period. The choreography was interesting and didn’t rely on slow motion and cutting after every move. Brandon Lee was several notches above JCVD, Seagal and all the other american MA actors at the time both as an actor and a screen fighter. Sadly this (and to a lesser extent Showdown in Little Tokyo) is the only opportunity to see Brandon Lee as a full on martial arts action star. I would have given it 8/10

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