- Actors: Yun-Fat Chow, Mira Sorvino, Michael Rooker, Kenneth Tsang, Jürgen Prochnow
- Directors: Antoine Fuqua
- Writers: Ken Sanzel
- Producers: Bernie Brillstein, Brad Grey, Christopher Godsick, John Woo, Matthew Baer
- Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
- Language: English, French, Spanish
- Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
- Dubbed: Spanish
- Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Canadian Home Video Rating : Ages 14 and over
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
- Release Date: June 30 1998
- Run Time: 87 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- ASIN: 6304970471
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,798 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
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The Replacement Killers (Widescreen/Full Screen) (Bilingual)
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International superstar Chow Yun-Fat (John Woo's Hard-Boiled) makes his Hollywood debut with Oscar(r) winner Mira Sorvino (1995 Best Supporting Actress, Mighty Aphrodite) in THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS, a fierce and explosive action thriller from director Antoine Fuqua (Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" video). After he betrays Mr. Wei, the ruthless crime boss who hired him to avenge his son's death, professional killer John Lee (Yun-Fat) goes on the run. Enlisting the aid of beautiful document forger Meg Coburn (Sorvino), Lee attempts to return to his family in China before they are victimized by his betrayal. But Wei's army of "replacement killers" is hot on his trail, and now both he and Meg are targets of their impressive firepower. With both sides fully armed and determined to fight to the death, an ultra-violent shootout breaks out when they finally face off against each other.
The director of Chow Yun-fat's first Hollywood outing, music-video veteran Antoine Fuqua, seems to be trying to squeeze the charismatic Asian superstar into a conventional American action-hero mold, and the results are dispiriting. Fuqua never lets this high-spirited actor smile, fetishizing him as a gunslinging clotheshorse in a series of garish, scenery-smashing battle scenes. As a paid assassin whose former employers turn against him, Chow enlists the help of an illegal documents specialist played, with surprising grit, by Mira Sorvino, and then spends most of the time fending off squads of killers in mirror shades. The movie is art-directed and photographed fit to kill (even the most routine incidents are eye-gougingly colorful) and edited to a hip-hop beat. It's garishly superficial. The frequent gunplay duels may keep action fans riveted, but they'll hate themselves in the morning. --David Chute
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The story centers on John Lee (Chow Yun-Fat), a hitman who fails to carry out a contract for moral reason, and soon finds himself and his family targets by the mob that hired him. In an effort to save his family, he goes to Meg Coburn (Mira Sorvino), a specialist in making forged documents, to hire her to make him a passport so he can get back to China and protect his family from the vengeful wrath of an Asian mafia. She soon becomes entangled in the war between John and his former employers. In the meantime, other assassins are brought in, the replacement killers, to finish what John couldn't, and to also kill John for his failure.
Some have complained that the movie is too short, but I would say it's tight. How many times have you watched a movie and thought the movie could have been shorter? So many times I have thought certain scenes in movies serve no other purpose other than to pad out the run time. This is a lean movie (87 mins) with lots of action. The pacing was such that it didn't allow for a lot of character development, but I felt there was enough to drive the story. I think Antoine Fuqua did an excellent job directing this movie, keeping the focus on the action rather than getting mired in useless details.
Some have criticized Mira Sorvino's character and her change of heart in the movie, saying that it was unrealistic. Well, I thought the whole movie was unrealistic, but I was just along for the ride. Did that element hurt the movie? I didn't think so...unrealistic? Maybe, but how many HK actions movies have you seen where something comes out of left field, like a main character changing allegiances? She did speak of how sometimes it was necessary to do the right thing, doing that one good think to make up for all the bad things. Most movies require a suspension of disbelief, and some require more than others. If you really want pick on a character that acted unrealistically, look at Kogan, played by Jurgen Prochnow. He appeared to be a high ranking member in the Asian mob after John but in a few scenes we see him involved in doing rather menial tasks better assigned to henchmen. His boss, Terrence Wei (Kenneth Tsang), did say something along the lines of taking a more hands on approach after the first failed attempt on John's life, but I think Kogan might have taken it a little too serious. At one point, he was staked out eavesdropping on a cop, trying to get specific information. Didn't seem like he would be so involved at that level of operations, but I let it slide.
Anyway, I had a lot of fun with this movie, and while not substantial in some areas, it certainly delivered with the action. Slick visuals, fast pacing, and lean story come together and work where others have failed. Also, the soundtrack really works well, complimenting the movie nicely, while not overshadowing it.
In his American movie debut, Yun-Fat is John Lee, taciturn, and restrained, exploding into action when necessary. He is a hit man who fails to complete his assignment. His Chinese employer, Terence Wei, is understandably upset, and orders that he be terminated. Seeking to return to China to protect his family from Wei's wrath, Lee is in need of a passport, and Meg is an expert at creating the false documents he needs. Once they get together, it's not long before the bullets start to fly. And the action almost never stops, with Mira right in the middle, more than holding her own with the heavy hitters. She's street tough, and never panics.
Sure, the plot has a few glitches. But who cares? We're here for the well-crafted action sequences, and that's what is served up in Antione Fuqua's directorial debut. Fuqua highlights Yun-Fat's smooth and graceful moves, as he spins, twists, dives, and of course, shoots his way across the screen. The final battle is a bit cliché, but not as over done as it could have been.
The Replacement Killers could have had a more appropriate title, but no matter what the name, if you're seeking a short, tight, action-packed shoot em up, look no further.
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