Writer: Alan B McElroy (Screenplay) Cindy Cirile, Alan B McElroy (Story)
Starring: Brandon Lee, Powers Boothe, Nick Mancuso, Raymond J Barry, Kate Hodge, Tzi Ma
Plot: When student Jake Lo witnesses a killing, he finds himself caught between two feuding drug lords. Betrayed and set up by the federal agents, the only person he can trust is Ryan, a Chicago cop who reminds Jake of his deceased father.
Tagline – Unarmed and extremely dangerous.
Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: By the Book
Story: Rapid Fire starts when Jake Lo (Lee) finds himself being the only witness in a gang war which sees Antonio Serrano (Mancuso) murder his competition and him wanting to clean up the mess. Jake is helped by Mace Ryan (Boothe) who has been investigating the gangs for a decade now.
Jake must face his own past if he is going get out of this alive, with the whole police force thinking he is a cop killer, Serrano and his men hunting him down, as well as Tau (Ma) the leader of the rival gang.
Thoughts on Rapid Fire
Characters – Jake Lo is an art student from China, where he saw his father killed, he is the traditional bad boy figure, riding his bike, staying out of the way of people, when he witnesses the murder, he shows the combat skills, as he fights his way out of trouble, though his hot headed nature will see him getting into fights he doesn’t need to be involved in, as he looks to clear his name. Mace Ryan has been investigating Serrano for a decade, giving up his personal life in his pursuit of this gang leader, he wants Jake to help him finally get his man, where he will do things the right way. Antonio Serrano funds one of the biggest drug rings in the country, he wants to continue to grow, which sees him start a war with a rival gang, only he needs to clean up the witnesses that could expose his true identity.
Performances – Brandon Lee showed he was excellent at the combat scenes, never looking out of place, while he might not have been the best in the more serious scenes. Powers Boothe is the star of the show here, he brings the heavyweight performance as the desperate cop. Nick Mancuso as the villain is great, showing he won’t stop for anyone who gets in his way, always looking like he would be a danger.
Story – The story here follows an art student from China that joins forces with a determined cop to eliminate both sides of a drug war, after he finds himself being a target from both sides. This does fit the 80s and 90s action story, where an unlikely pairing will take down a drug war, it gives us the increased stakes per fight and shows how both need to learn a lesson to succeed. It might well be by the book, but it does everything right to achieve this.
Action – The action turns to Brandon Lee’s strengths of combat, he gets to show all his best fighting skills even with bullets flying around.
Settings – The film uses the settings to show us how the criminal world would operate, with massive warehouses being the locations for most fight sequences.
Scene of the Movie – Lee vs Ma.
Final Thoughts – This is completely by the book action film that does everything right, without being as ground breaking as it could have been.
Overall: Action 101.