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Rapid Fire
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Movie Details

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Directed By
Dwight Little

Written By:
Alan B. McElroy, Paul Attanasio, Cindy Cirile

Brandon Lee, Powers Boothe, Nick Mancuso, Raymond J. Barry, Kate Hodge, Tzi Ma, Tony Longo, Michael Paul Chan, Dustin Nguyen, John Vickery, Basil Wallace, Al Leong, François Chau, Quentin O'Brien, D.J. Howard, Brigitta Stenberg

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Rapid Fire (1992)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
July 26th, 2009

If The Crow could serve as a showcase of Brandon Lee's genuine acting talents, then 'Rapid Fire' highlights his martial arts abilities, inherited no doubt from his famous father, Bruce Lee. The numerous fight sequences are about all this generic action movie has going for it. It is assembled from the most tiresome genre cliches, and contains not one iota of originality, but still manages to be entertaining, because of Lee, who performs well in combat, and has a rather magnetic screen presence, not to mention that he is a very good-looking man, and is frequently shirtless, to show off his physique.

Lee is Jake Lo, a Chicago art student, and a Chinese immigrant, who witnessed the massacre in Tiananmen Square, where his father was killed. He sees mob boss Antonio Serrano (Nick Mancuso) commit a murder during a museum fundraiser, and is pursued by both Serrano's thugs, and by the corrupt cops and federal agents on Serrano's payroll.

His only reliable source of protection is Mace Ryan (Powers Boothe), a devoted and honest cop who wants to bring down Serrano, but has spent ten years of his life trying to catch prominent drug supplier Kinman Tau (Tzi Ma), who smuggles heroin and a variety of other narcotics into the United States from Asia. Serrano wants a cut of Tau's business, since Chicago is "his" turf. Classic mafia mentality. Serrano and his men do almost nothing besides sit in an Italian restaurant, scarfing down pasta and answering phone calls. Serrano himself is a walking Italian gangster stereotype.

Tau runs a laundry facility (an obvious front), where he apparently uses illegal Chinese laborers. Jake is not invincible, and does not come out of every encounter completely unscathed, but he does survive some extraordinarily perilous situations, dodging bullets and escaping explosions, taking down legions of bad guys who choose to approach him one at a time, dealing with villains that talk a lot before pulling the trigger, so nothing proves terribly challenging.

Mancuso enjoys chewing scenery, and Boothe's character, of course, despite his hardened exterior, comes to like Jake, regards him as a son almost, even if he has trouble expressing his feelings, or displaying affection. There is a sex scene between Jake and a female cop, Withers (Kate Hodge), not too long after Jake took her as a hostage, for which she quickly forgives him, upon learning who he is and how valuable he is to Ryan.

What I hate about this sex scene is that it shows nothing; it is insulting, especially in a R rated film, to have a sex scene and then shy away from nudity, or the actual sex itself. We see the kissing and partial disrobing that precedes it, and the calm aftermath, as Jake and Withers are lying in bed, but we miss everything in between. Is this worth complaining about? Maybe not, but it bothers me to no end, and I say this as an unapologetic fan of sex, and depictions of it in cinema and literature.

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