Replacement Killers, The (1998) Review

"The Replacement Killers" American Theatrical Poster

"The Replacement Killers" American Theatrical Poster

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Antoine Fuqua
Producer: Bernie Brillstein, Brad Grey, Terence Chang
Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Mira Sorvino, Michael Rooker, Kenneth Tsang, Jürgen Prochnow, Til Schweiger, Danny Trejo
Running Time: 87 min.

By Numskull

I refuse to give this movie a serious review. To do so would be to endow it with a sort of cinematic legitimacy which it does not deserve. The Replacement Killers very well may be the single worst film that Chow Yun-Fat has ever appeared in. Not a very auspicious way to start his Hollywood career.

The “creative” fuckwits at work here probably just saw Hard Boiled and The Killer like everyone else, and thought that this made them qualified to craft an American debut film for Chow Yun-Fat. What they came out with is an incredibly feeble imitation of the “gunslinger” movies that CYF is so well-known for and, furthermore, one of the worst action movies of all time.

Here’s a shootout from Hard Boiled:

BLAM! BLAM! Buddabuddabuddabudda “AAAARRGGHHHH!!!” *thud* BLAMBLAMBLAM “YAAAHH!!” BOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!!!! BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM

Here’s a shootout from The Replacement Killers:

Blam. Blam. Blam. “Argh.” Blam. Pow. Blam. Click. Blam. “Huh?” Blam.

The “action” here is even weaker than American beer. The story is even worse. The performances suck too. CYF can be at least partially forgiven for this due to the fact that this is his first English-speaking role, and he only began learning the language 18 months prior to the film’s release (he said so on Leno…still got a tape of that show somewhere in the basement). There is no excuse, however, for Mira Sorvino’s portrayal of a document forging bitch. When she’s supposed to be screaming a bloodthirsty battle cry, she sounds more like a five year old daddy’s little girl throwing a temper tantrum.

Crap. Total crap.

If memory serves, the song that plays during the ending credits begins with the words “You make me wanna die.” How appropriate! This movie made me want to hurl myself off a cliff and splatter myself all over the ground, just so I could forget ever having seen it. Small wonder that Chow Yun-Fat had to go back to Asia to make another successful film (his two other Hollywood efforts, The Corruptor and Anna and the King, didn’t exactly make waves at the box office…and, mercifully, neither did this pile of shit).

This is simply one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Director Antoine Fuqua should be fucking shot. Let The Replacement Killers be buried in the sands of time, never to be spoken of again by men and women of intelligence and virtue.

Numskull’s Rating: 1/10


By Alvin George

The Replacement Killers is an OK action movie. My dad and I rented this movie for 99 cents so that I could show him a Chow Yun-Fat movie after my little sister saw Anna and the King. Despite the fact that it lacks the slow-motion shootouts Chow Yun-Fat movies are known for (I actually found them tiring in Hard-Boiled), Chow baby holds his own despite his rather limited English skills. The lovely Mira Sorvino, daughter of the overweight character actor Paul Sorvino (whom I saw on that TV show Law and Order), is surprisingly badass as the maker of fake ID cards who helps Chow along the way. I’m surprised because, as I write this, I’ve only seen Mira in one other movie, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, where she played an airheaded Valley Girl. But then again, she did major in East Asian Studies at Harvard University and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese. I’m not quite sure about the movie’s setting, especially since the police cars have generic door shields.

Alvin George’s Rating: 6/10


James H.

Antoine Fuqua directed “The Replacement Killers”. His only other documented directorial effort is the Gangsta’s Paradise” video. Personally, I would not want that video to my name. It wasn’t a particularly good video; but then again, no music video is particularly good. Essentially, the “Gangsta’ s Paradise” video was comprised of footage from “Dangerous Minds” and shot of Coolio and Michelle Pfeiffer sitting across from each other.

But I digress. I enjoyed “The Replacement Killers”, but that’s not to say it’s necessarily a good film. I mean I enjoyed “Deep Blue Sea” and that was, by no means, a good film. “The Replacement Killers” severely lacks in the characterization department. Everyone plays a one-dimensional cardboard cut-out . Chow Yun-Fat’s character is a caricature of what he played in “The Killer”.

The plot is this: Chow Yun-Fat plays a killer, John Lee (how’s that for originality?) who refuses to kill the son of a cop. Badass mob boss Mr. Wei wants John dead for going against him. Along the way, John hooks up with a hottie of a documents forger named Meg Coburn (Mira Sorvino). The two must battle together to take down Mr. Wei, and hundreds, if not thousands, of his henchmen.

The action is generally well done. Fuqua is not a bad director, although he does borrow heavily from John Woo’s masterpiece “The Killer”. The film is bright and very colorful. Fuqua has done a good job of creating a nice atmosphere in the film. Chow is always great carring guns in his hands and looks great as always. Mira Sorvino, on the other hand, doesn’t fit here at all. She looks lost and sometimes confused with bullets whizzing by her; she’s not good action-hero material.

Essentially this film is 88 minutes of Chow Yun-Fat running around, shooting people and looking cool the entire time. At times, the film is nicely complimented with an energetic soundtrack.

James H’s Rating: 6.5/10

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