Volume 91, Issue 74

Tuesday, February 10, 1998

grilled cheese


The Replacement Killers died

By Brett Walther
Gazette Staff

The Replacement Killers is an utterly uninspired film that introduces nothing new to the action film genre. Here we have an hour and a half chock full of explosions, blood and more explosions – held together by only the barest remnants of a plot.

In summary, a Shanghai mob boss' son is killed by an American cop during a drug bust. In retaliation, Wei, the mob boss, hires a hit man to exact revenge on the detective by assassinating his son. The assassin hired for this grisly assignment is John Lee, played by Chow Yun-Fat, who can not bring himself to murder an innocent child. As a result, Lee evokes the wrath of Wei, who retaliates by sending death squads – armed with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of bullets – to dispose of him.

Where does the film go from here? In short, the audience must sit through countless slow motion machine gun deaths, an overdose of black leather and horrendous dialogue until the predictable conclusion.

It seems as though very little thought was put into the development of the script. As soon as the film starts to get interesting, it is interrupted by an overly long and uninteresting gunfight. Perhaps uncharacteristic for this genre, The Replacement Killers is also largely lacking in humour. Modern audiences can't help but expect witty one-liners after the hero slaughters yet another attacker ˆ la Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Rather, director Antoine Fuqua substitutes long passages of an irritating techno-influenced soundtrack in the place of dialogue.

Furthermore, the performances in The Replacement Killers veer from the mediocre to the downright unenthusiastic. Noteworthy, if only for the fact she possesses the only female speaking part in the entire film, is the talented Mira Sorvino. Sorvino has very little to do in this picture, with the exception of striking dramatic action poses and looking serious all the time. Her role as Meg, the passport-forger extraordinaire who becomes Lee's sidekick, is both poorly motivated and ill-defined. Adding insult to injury, her sudden romantic interest in Lee at the film's conclusion is utterly ridiculous.

Overall, The Replacement Killers is a very disappointing film that could well be used as a guide of how not to make an action film. It's not exciting, it's not original – and it's not worth your time.

©Frank Masi
ARE YOU READY FOR MORE BULLETS, VIEWERS? Chow Yun-Fat portrays professional killer John Lee in the overly action packed film, The Replacement Killers.

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