"About two-thirds of the way through the movie, she and Brandon Lee have one of the most ridiculously spontaneous, totally unnecessary, and brazenly gratuitous sex scenes in the history of motion pictures."
Rapid Fire (1992)
AKA: Moving Target
Director: Dwight H. Little
Producer: John Fasano, Robert Lawrence, Gerald T. Olson
Writer: Cindy Cirile, Alan B. McElroy
Action Director: Brandon Lee
Cast: Brandon Lee, Powers Boothe, Nick Mancuso, Raymond J. Barry, Kate Hodge, Tzi Ma, Tony Longo, Michael Paul Chan, Dustin Nguyen, Brigitta Stenberg, Basil Wallace, Al Leong, François Chau, Quentin O'Brien, D.J. Howard
Running Time: 98 min.
Plot: College student Jake Lo just made a serious mistake - he witnessed a cold-blooded murder by a notorious gangleader who now wants him dead. At war with gangsters, crooked cops, and his violent past, Jake must fight to stay alive.
RYAN LUNDGREN'S REVIEW: Brandon Lee shows some talent but this actioner is far to conservative and unimaginative to be entertaining. With other films like Universal Soldier and Under Siege that year, it's no wonder why Rapid Fire didn't do too well in the Box Office. The movie's action scenes aren't anything we haven't seen before, everything is done, very, by the numbers and Brandon is hard to get used to as a college student. Brandon is good at martial arts and he has some good qualities as an action star. He doesn't have Seagal's mumbling problem, Van Damme's self admiration, or Lundgren's tired Look. Lee's problem is his look. He doesn't look mean enough. His eyes are too happy looking and he doesn't have Seagal's exciting martial artistry, Van Damme's flexibility or Lundgren's imposing presence or his ability to play a convincing villain (Lioke Lundgren did in Rocky IV, Universal Soldier, Johnny Mnemonic). Funny that I said something about Lundgren, as he starred with Lee In Showdown In Little Tokyo. In fact, Lee is better at playing a sidekick than carrying a film. Lee did much better with The Crow. I recommend Rapid Fire for anyone who loves Lee. Others should walk away.
RYAN LUNDGREN'S RATING: 4/10
NUMSKULL'S REVIEW: A VHS copy of the last movie Brandon Lee completed can probably be found in the bargain bin of your local Blockbuster or Walmart (North America only), and though I wouldn't label it a "classic" or a "masterpiece", I will say that I think it deserves a slightly better fate than that. All things considered, it's a "B" grade film through and through, but it's still moderately fun and the action is pretty solid.
None of the acting is really good, but the only significant performance that stands out as really BAD is Kate Hodge's. About two-thirds of the way through the movie, she and Brandon Lee have one of the most ridiculously spontaneous, totally unnecessary, and brazenly gratuitous sex scenes in the history of motion pictures. I'm not some tight-ass who screams bloody murder at the sight of a naked breast, but...come ON. They're like, "Well honey, the movie's been going for an hour now, give or take a few minutes, and we've had about 45 seconds of screen time together. I think it's high time we exchanged bodily fluids."
The limp story isn't worth describing in great detail, but I did find Jake Lo's transformation from a free-thinking loner into a gloriously heroic figure willing to risk it all for a fashionably noble cause quite nauseating. Good thing we don't watch this stuff to think deep thoughts. In fact, the deepest though I have here is whether or not Jackie Chan would have called the action bits copied from Police Story "flattering" in his autobiography if Brandon had been alive when it was written.
The fighting, shooting and so forth are frequent and good enough to hold your interest through the slow parts. Just don't expect anything too epic.
Not bad for a movie of this type. Better than some Van Damme shit, that's for sure. Give it a try if you're bored sometime and you can't clip your toenails any more.
NUMSKULL'S RATING: 6/10
JAMES H'S REVIEW: Brandon Lee's penultimate film was Dwight Little's "Rapid Fire". It can be seen as almost a tribute to HK action films. It tries to combine the gun fights of John Woo flicks and the martial arts of Jackie Chan (look for references to "Police Story"). The film succeeds as an attempt to cash in on HK-style action, but that's it really.
Brandon Lee stars as Jake Lo, an arts student in LA. He is asked to speak at a rally against China and that whole Tiennamen Square fiasco. While there, he witnesses a murder by a mob boss. The Feds then ship Jake off to Chicago to testify. Things do not go so smoothly when the baddies try to kill Jake; lots of punching and kicking (obviously) ensues.
Brandon stands out in this film. His acting abilities have developed very well since the days of "Legacy of Rage". His character is surprisingly well developed for a movie of this nature. Unfortunately, that means the rest of the characters suffer from this. Personally, I would like to have seen the relationship between Brandon and Powers Boothe (a cop with the wonderful soap opera name Mace Ryan) been developed further.
Dwight Little ("Murder at 1600", "Marked For Death") does a decent job with the action scenes, but the gun fights suffer from being somewhat uninteresting and rather generic. "Rapid Fire" is at its best when Brandon is kicking ass. The martial arts scenes, choreographed by Lee and, pay homage to some of Jackie Chan's films, as I said earlier.
"Rapid Fire" is Brandon Lee's second last, and second best film ("The Crow" wins the number one spot). It's a good, fun action movie, although at times it follows action movie cliches a little too closely from time to time.
JAMES H'S RATING: 6.5/10
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: John Woo-type shoot-outs. Jackie Chan-like fight choreography. Brandon Lee, who also served as fight choreographer, captures the essence of Hong Kong cinema and brings it to the American screen in "Rapid Fire". More of a homage than a rip-off, Lee lifts actions scenes straight out of "Police Story" and uses them to great effect. The result is a success, especially for the time when American audiences had a hard-on for Van Damme's slow, generic, single sidekicks. Highlight of the film: Brandon's hand-to-hand fights with Al Leong (we all know this guy) and Tzi Ma (that little girl's father in "Rush Hour").
From "Laser Mission" to "The Crow", I never thought highly of Lee's acting abilities. Like Michael Wong (who starred with Brandon in "Legacy of Rage"), Lee's screen presence is first-rate, but when he speaks, he's no Gary Oldman. The rest of the cast isn't exactly hand-picked by Martin Scorsese either, which is good. At least they blend in perfectly.
"Rapid Fire" is without doubt, Lee's best American-made film.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 8/10