With his looks, easy charm and devastating close combat skills, Chow Yun-Fat became one of the world's coolest stars, despite never having made an American movie. He was iconic in John Woo's The Killer and Hard-Boiled; and perhaps inevitably, the US majors signed him up in the wake of Woo's Hollywood success. Several English lessons later, with Woo as watchful exec producer, Chow gets his big break, but, regrettably, it's a lifeless copy of his HK pictures. In a virtual rerun of The Killer, he plays a hitman, whose debt to the Chinese mob will be paid off if he carries out one last job on detective Rooker's small son. Lining up his sights, he finds himself unable to eliminate his target, and soon the mob are out to replace him with someone who can. The formula is so wearisome, the viewer has plenty of time to muse on the incidentals: Chow's uncanny facility for returning fire in mid-dive; Mira Sorvino's no nonsense re-invention of the clichéd squealing bimbo role; director Antoine Fuqua's striking repertory of sinuous camera moves. Next time maybe they'll trust the star with more than three words of dialogue at a time.
The Replacement Killers
Cast and crew