Rapid Fire (1992 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Dwight H. Little|
|Produced by||Robert Lawrence|
|Written by||Alan McElroy|
|Story by||Cindy Cirile|
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Edited by||Gib Jaffe|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$14.4 million (US)|
Rapid Fire is a 1992 American action film directed by Dwight H. Little and starring Brandon Lee, Powers Boothe and Nick Mancuso. The film was released in the United States on August 21, 1992. Lee was reportedly in talks with 20th Century Fox about making Rapid Fire 2, prior to his death.
The film opens in Thailand, with Antonio Serrano, a mafia drug distributor visiting long-time associate Kinman Tau, a drug kingpin. Serrano is having troubles and wants them to work together, but his request is not reciprocated.
Turned off from politics after witnessing the death of his father at Tiananmen Square in China, Los Angeles art student Jake Lo is lured to a party of Chinese pro-democracy activists. While there, he witnesses Serrano killing party sponsor Carl Chang, who was an associate of Tau. When Serrano and his men attempt to kill Jake, he swiftly disarms them using martial arts techniques. Jake is placed under protective custody by federal agents, who coerce him into coming to Chicago and testifying against Serrano.
When the agents at the safe house are revealed to be corrupt, Jake escapes through the window and encounters a young police detective named Karla Withers, with whom he develops an immediate bond. Withers' partner, Lieutenant Mace Ryan, helps Jake evade his pursuers and reveals that he had been pursuing Tau for 10 years.
Jake is persuaded by Ryan to help him exploit Serrano's FBI ties and obtain information about Tau's next shipment. Though the sting operation is successful, Jake is nearly killed in a barrage of gunfire and assaults Ryan after he reveals his involvement wasn't necessary. Later that night, Jake and Karla begin a romance and have sex in her apartment, while Ryan and his team lead a raid at the revealed location of the next shipment: Tau's laundry factory. Both the lovemaking and the events of the raid are shown alternately as they occur in actual time, culminating with Serrano being murdered in his cell by one of Tau's henchman.
Jake, Ryan and Withers subsequently team up to bring down Tau once more. Though Ryan and Withers are captured by Tau's men, Jake rescues them and eventually kills Tau at a train platform. He and Karla then evacuate Ryan from the burning factory and ride to the hospital together in an ambulance.
- Brandon Lee as Jake Lo
- Powers Boothe as Lieutenant Mace Ryan
- Nick Mancuso as Antonio Serrano
- Raymond J. Barry as Agent Frank Stewart
- Kate Hodge as Detective Karla Withers
- Tzi Ma as Kinman Tau
- Tony Longo as Brunner
- Michael Paul Chan as Carl Chang
- Dustin Nguyen as Paul Yang
- Brigitta Stenberg as Rosalyn
- Basil Wallace as Agent Wesley
- Al Leong as Minh
- François Chau as Farris
- Quentin O'Brien as Agent Daniels
- Roy Abramsohn as Agent Klein
- C'Esca Lawrence as Lisa Stewart
- Michael Chong as John Lo
- Jeff McCarthy as Agent Anderson
The film is debuted at No.3 at the box office. After Brandon Lee's death while filming The Crow, his films, such as Rapid Fire, saw a surge in video sales. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the DVD in Region 2 in the United Kingdom on 16 July 2001, and Region 1 in the United States on May 21, 2002.
Paul Attanasio was brought in as a script doctor to re-work the film's story before shooting. School scenes were filmed at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Many of the fight scenes were orchestrated by Lee, which contain elements of his father Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do fighting style.
Stephen Hunter of the Baltimore Sun wrote that the film's fast pace, which he compared to video games, leaves Lee unable to show his charisma. Although he called the film a "disaster", Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel called Lee likable and appealing. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Kevin Thomas described the film as "better than Enter the Dragon" and a star-making role for Lee. Stephen Holden of The New York Times said the film exploits the death of Lee's father, martial arts actor Bruce Lee, to make his character seem more sympathetic. On Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator that includes both contemporary and modern reviews, it has an approval rating of 40% based on 20 reviews; the average rating is 4.7/10. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
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