True Action: Rapid Fire (2006)
Welcome to True Action, a brand new feature here on BulletproofAction.com that will spotlight action movies based on true stories.
In the first installment of True Action, I’m going to take a look at the 2006 made for TV movie, Rapid Fire starring Jason Gedrick of Iron Eagle fame.
- The Movie: The movie does stick to the actual events, but of course they use some of their artistic license. There’s the added layer of romance between two of the officers. There’s another officer who has a thing for Jason Gedrick’s character, Tony. Tony is also given the back story that he was a sniper for the LAPD and after he accidentally shot one of the hostages. He gets away from the high stress of being a cop in LA and is now a cop in Norco, a small Southern California town, where he’s keeping drug dealers away from schools and investigating a graffiti outbreak in the town. And while the movie takes place in Southern California like the actual events did, it was actually shot in British Columbia. I figured it was Canadian when I heard the distinct Canadian accent of Katharine Isabelle, who plays Amber the girlfriend of one of the bank robbers in the film who is played by Brendan Fletcher. Fletcher’s involvement should have been another Canadian indicator. Of course this is pretty typical in the movie world, my native Cleveland has been both Germany and Washington D.C. thanks to The Avengers and Captain America: Winter Soldier. The time table for how everything actually went down and how the movie unfolds is also altered, but that is to be expected, especially for a TV movie with a 90 minute runtime.
- The True Story: The actual events of the Norco Bank Robbery began on May 9th, 1980. Five masked men wearing fatigues and carrying semi-automatic weapons entered the Norco branch of the Security Pacific Bank and held the bank up for more than $20,000 before fleeing the scene of the crime in their getaway van (also stolen). This led to a running gun battle between the police and the robbers that spanned 25 miles from Norco to the San Bernardino foothills. 33 patrol cars were damaged or completely destroyed in the chase and to be honest, I don’t recall that many patrol cars in the actual movie. Also a sheriff’s helicopter was shot down, which I thought was something the movie decided to do to spice things up, but it was 100% legit. Two of the robbers were killed, and three of them were arrested days later. The three robbers that survived have been sentenced to life in prison with no possibility for parole. 8 police officers were wounded and 1 police officer, Officer James Evans, sadly lost his life. There is a street named “Deputy Evans Drive” in Norco to honor the fallen officer.
There is a site devoted to The Norco Bank Robbery story and it includes a documentary produced by the Irvine Police Department. If you’d like to check it out click here.