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Replacement Killers

The Replacement Killers

4.2 5
Director: Antoine Fuqua, Chow Yun-Fat, Mira Sorvino, Michael Rooker

Cast: Antoine Fuqua, Chow Yun-Fat, Mira Sorvino, Michael Rooker


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Music video and TV commercials director Antoine Fuqua made his feature directorial debut with this action thriller starring Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun-Fat. Chinese immigrant John Lee (Yun-Fat) has a violent past as a professional killer. It brings him only remorse, but it makes him the ideal assassin. In exchange for his family's safety, Lee is forced to take a job


Music video and TV commercials director Antoine Fuqua made his feature directorial debut with this action thriller starring Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun-Fat. Chinese immigrant John Lee (Yun-Fat) has a violent past as a professional killer. It brings him only remorse, but it makes him the ideal assassin. In exchange for his family's safety, Lee is forced to take a job with a powerful underworld figure, Asian crime kingpin Terence Wei (Kenneth Tsang), who wants Lee to settle a deadly vendetta against police detective Stan Zedlov (Michael Rooker) by killing Zedlov's seven-year-old son. At the last minute, with the boy in his sights, Lee chooses to face Wei's vengeance rather than go through with the killing. In addition to making Lee a target, the decision also endangers his mother and sister back in Shanghai. Planning a return to China, he visits document forger Meg Coburn (Mira Sorvino) to get a phony passport, but they are interrupted by Wei's army of killers, and a lengthy chase and gun battle is set in motion. Director Fuqua stressed to his team that the aim was to design a "Taxi Driver for the 1990s," with production beginning February 10, 1997 in downtown Los Angeles, and the first shoot at the historic Mayan Theater, refurbished into the trendy nightclub for the film's stylish opening scene with hundreds of extras carousing while Lee guns down Romero (Carlos Leon) at close range. The eight-story, nearly condemned Giant Penny building in the heart of L.A. served as locations for a police station interior, a hotel room, and Meg Coburn's office, and a chaotic gunfight was filmed amid the spray, brushes, and hoses of Joe's Car Wash in LA. The art department transformed one area into a Chinatown-like streetscape of damp, narrow alleys, and blinking red neon lights, site of a night filming where Yun-Fat shot off 546 rounds with two guns, one in each hand, while the repetitive action left his hands blistered and shaking. More gunplay was at a video arcade replicated at the original Lawry's center just north of downtown L.A., and Lee's tranquil Buddhist temple was fashioned under this same roof. In addition to physical training, Mira Sorvino, who had never handled a gun prior to this film, took weapons training to prepare for her role. Sorvino majored in Asian studies at Harvard, speaks Mandarin, and lived for eight months (1988-89) in Beijing, where she studied Chinese, taught English, and saw Chinese films, including Hong Kong action films. She felt The Replacement Killers brought her a step closer to her goal of making a film in Mandarin and working with a Chinese director.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Chow Yun-Fat, a mainstay of Hong Kong’s ultraviolent, "New Wave" urban thrillers, made his American debut in this exciting 1998 shoot-’em-up. Produced by popular Chinese filmmaker John Woo -- one of Chow’s mentors -- Replacement Killers gives the star a familiar role: He plays John Lee, a professional assassin whose peculiar code of honor renders him unable to kill the young son of a cop (Michael Rooker) responsible for the death of a crime lord’s scion. When Lee’s crisis of conscience results in a contract being placed on his head, the hit man turns to master forger Meg Coburn (Mira Sorvino) for phony credentials that will help him flee the country -- that is, if he can get out of the city alive. First-time director Antoine Fuqua, obviously influenced by Woo, delivers a credibly American simulacrum of the Hong Kong action film, replete with slow-motion shootouts and elaborate fight choreography. Yun-Fat’s stylized portrayal of an existential character recalls his work in such classics as Woo’s The Killer. And while he initially seems out of place next to Sorvino, Rooker, and villain Jurgen Prochnow, his character actually helps distinguish The Replacement Killers from run-of-the-mill Hollywood genre films with sketchily drawn and unremarkable protagonists. The Special Edition DVD affords the featurette "Chow Yun-Fat Goes to Hollywood" and an HBO making-of documentary, as well as deleted scenes and cast-crew filmographies.
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
The American film debut of Asian superstar Chow Yun-Fat is this for-genre-fans-only affair that mimics the balletic violence and two-dimensionally flat characters of the Hong Kong school while adding comic book style visual panache. There's clearly an enormous effort being made to create a slick, compelling surface here and indeed director Antoine Fuqua, along with producer John Woo, has devised a kinetic, nonstop action flick that should score points with martial arts buffs. The significant drawback of action flicks in general, however, is a serious lack of believable, psychologically authentic characters. This artistic Achilles' heel is keenly pertinent here in a script that swaps sharp one-liners for growth or development. By the time the story punches through its climactic final battles, viewers who expect some steak with their sizzle may be notably disappointed, finding their energy for and interest in the story crushed flat under the weight of dashed expectations. For audiences that want nothing more than a dazzling thrill ride and don't give two shakes about suspension of disbelief or identifying with somebody onscreen, The Replacement Killers (1998) will be a welcome experience.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
The Replacement Killers is as abstract as a jazz instrumental, and as cool and self-assured.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Chow Yun-Fat John Lee
Mira Sorvino Meg Coburn
Michael Rooker Stan (Zeedo) Zedkov
Jürgen Prochnow Michael Kogan
Kenneth Tsang Terence Wei
Danny Trejo Collins
Carlos Goméz Actor
Til Schweiger Ryker
Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez Loco
Randall Duk Kim Alan Chan
Mario Roberts Gangster

Technical Credits
Antoine Fuqua Director
Douglas B. Arnold Sound/Sound Designer
Matthew Baer Executive Producer
Bernie Brillstein Producer
Jay Cassidy Editor
Terence Chang Executive Producer
Peter Lyons Collister Cinematographer
Christopher Godsick Executive Producer
Harry Gregson-Williams Score Composer
Brad Grey Producer
Evette Knight Set Decoration/Design
Wendy Kurtzman Casting
David S. Lazan Art Director
Michael McDonnell Co-producer
Arianne Phillips Costumes/Costume Designer
Ken Sanzel Screenwriter
Naomi Shohan Production Designer
Jeffrey Wetzel Asst. Director
John Woo Executive Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Replacement Killers
1. Chapter 1 [4:00]
2. Chapter 2 [3:18]
3. Chapter 3 [3:30]
4. Chapter 4 [1:44]
5. Chapter 5 [2:17]
6. Chapter 6 [2:56]
7. Chapter 7 [4:07]
8. Chapter 8 [4:07]
9. Chapter 9 [3:09]
10. Chapter 10 [3:48]
11. Chapter 11 [3:10]
12. Chapter 12 [3:31]
13. Chapter 13 [2:35]
14. Chapter 14 [:58]
15. Chapter 15 [3:59]
16. Chapter 16 [3:41]
17. Chapter 17 [4:00]
18. Chapter 18 [2:56]
19. Chapter 19 [2:47]
20. Chapter 20 [3:27]
21. Chapter 21 [1:48]
22. Chapter 22 [3:57]
23. Chapter 23 [3:21]
24. Chapter 24 [3:57]
25. Chapter 25 [1:38]
26. Chapter 26 [3:19]
27. Chapter 27 [1:53]
28. Chapter 28 [3:23]


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The Replacement Killers 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JC333 More than 1 year ago
One of the best action flicks ever. Great soundtrack, and with scenes shot in the Ennis-Brown house to boot. Chow Yun-Fat is awesome. My favorite movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago