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chow yun-fat

The Replacement Killers

Starring Chow Yun-Fat, Mira Sorvino and Michael Rooker
Written by Ken Sanzel
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Website www.spe.sony.com

IN SHORT: Looks good. So what?

Which brings us to the look of The Replacement Killers, which introduces Asian action star Chow Yun-Fat to those of us in the West that don't know any better. Cranky likes a good action flick and his eDrive cohort Trent Haaga would "pay to see Mr. Chow smoke a cigarette," so off we went.

Helmed by Antoine Fuqua (director of some "legendary" music video that I've never heard of), The Replacement Killers has the glossy sheen of 20 music vids stapled together, of which only two or three really contribute to the movie. Taken as a whole, it's a lot of emotionless action flash.

John Lee (Chow) is an indentured killer of the Chinese underworld. He kills, or his family will be killed. Goateed cop Stan Zedkov (Michael Rooker) battles the organization Lee works for, and has killed the boss' son. Given orders to take out someone close to Zedkov, Lee bolts. He must save his family. He must crush the Boss. He must find guns that will fire 50 rounds before they need reloading (and Cranky is happy to report that all those Central Casting Western guns that fired up a storm last week in Hard Rain have found gainful employment).

On Lee's side, spitting more attitude and wearing much less clothing is a document forger named Meg Coburn (Mira Sorvino). To be honest, any woman with a great body and a drop dead stare could have done this part, that's how much direction Fuqua has given her, Cranky would guess. Fuqua's direction is aimed solely at non-stop music and almost non-stop gunfire. Here and there are some beautifully staged shots, but when you've only got one story to work with (not a subplot to be found!) you run out of tricks real quick.

Walking out of the room, shoulders drooping under the weight of sitting through a poor action flick, Haaga said, "I'd still pay to see the man smoke a cigarette on screen." Now that's a fan!

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price for The Replacement Killers, he would have paid . . .

$3.00

If the soundtrack sells, you'll see more of this on MTV than you will on the big screen. Chow's got impressive moves. Now give him a story to work with.


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