The Replacement Killers, Extended Cut, Blu-ray (1998/2007)

by | Sep 14, 2007 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

The Replacement Killers, Extended Cut, Blu-ray (1998/2007)

Starring Chow Yun-Fat, Mira Sorvino
Studio: Columbia Pictures 21226
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9, 1080p HD
Audio: English or Italian uncompressed 5.1 PCM, English/French/Italian/Hungarian DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, French, Korean, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Norwegian, Polish, Turkish, Hungarian, Swedish, Italian, Icelandic, Bulgarian, Slovene, Croatian, Romanian, Thai, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese
Extras: Featurette – Chow Yun-Fat Goes Hollywood; Featurette – Where The Action Is; Trailer
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: ****

This was the Hollywood debut of Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun-Fat.  He had achieved highest praise for his films directed by HK kung fu specialist John Woo, but the studio retained for this film a director whose background was in directing TV commercials – Antoine Fugua. There is discussion in the featurettes, and statements by Yun-Fat himself, about how they chose a script that had him speaking very little, and that if he wanted to be a real success in Hollywood he had to work hard to perfect his English.  I can’t imagine what all the concern is – listen to Arnold Schwarzenegger! ‘Nuff said.

The fierce and ruthless shoot-em-up has a touching story behind it. Yun-Fat’s character, John Lee, owes the powerful head of a Chinese syndicate in LA’s Chinatown some “service” connected with his late father and his mother and sister still in China.  He has carried out assassinations of two criminal types for the leader, but when he focuses on the police detective he has been asked to kill as his last job and sees in his telescopic sight the man’s seven-year-old son, he doesn’t pull the trigger. As a result, the crime boss hires a group of “replacement killers” to kill not only Lee but his sister and mother in China. He has to fight them to the death. He gets document forger Meg (Sorvino) involved for his passport and although she at first fights with him under duress she ends up being a great gunslinging partner in their face-off with the crime leader’s hired killers. Wild firefights inside a car wash and in a movie theater are two of the action highlights.

The shots are often rapid and dynamic, as you would expect from a director of commercials. The balletic movements of Yun-Fat with his double-fisted shooting style are straight from the best Hong Kong kung fu movies. There’s good detail in the darker areas of the images. The transfer is excellent, and the uncompressed PCM surround displays the fierce firepower with deafening realism.  You’ll feel at some points like ducking behind your sofa.  Just the deep bass of some of the soundtrack music may have you doing that. The extras are only in standard definition and not that informative really.  There’s a lot of emphasis in them on what a great human being Yun-Fat is.  OK, OK, I believe you. (And I wouldn’t think of disagreeing and perhaps getting blown away…)

 – John Sunier

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