Bullet Points: Rapid Fire (1992)
Today marks a sad anniversary in the world of action movies. 22 years ago today Brandon Lee was killed on the set of The Crow.
Brandon Lee was climbing the ladder of success in Hollywood. His first break was in the TV movie, Kung Fu: The Movie, starring along side David Carradine. From there he made a movie in Hong Kong, Legacy of Rage. After some more TV work, Brandon would star in the low budget film, Laser Mission with Ernest Borgnine.
Two years later he took a big step, starring along side Dolph Lundgren in Showdown in Little Tokyo. The movie had a limited theatrical release and for most it was a direct to video movie.
Then 1992 rolled around and Brandon had his first big studio release, Rapid Fire…
Rapid Fire was #3 at the box office on its opening weekend. Not bad for a rookie in the world of big studio releases.
It had literally been decades since I watched Rapid Fire and was fortunate to see that it was airing on HBO, so I set the DVR and when I watched it I was blown away with how good the movie was and how it still holds up 20+ years later.
- The Premise: Brandon Lee plays Jake Lo, a college student who witnesses mob boss Antonio Serrano (Nick Mancuso) execute a “business associate”. Jake narrowly escapes Serrano’s goons but things go from bad to worse, when Jake finds himself a marked man by the mob. After the witness protection he was promised goes sour, Jake finds himself not knowing who to trust. That is until he meets up with a tough Chicago cop who operates on the outskirts of the law, Mace Ryan (Powers Boothe). Ryan and his team have been trying to take down Serrano and the man supplying Serrano with illegal narcotics, Tau (Tzi Ma) for years. With Jake’s help they can finally achieve their objective.
- The Action: Brandon Lee held up his end of the deal through out this movie. To put it simply, Brandon Lee kicked ass both literally and figuratively in this film. There is one great fight scene after the other as Jake is fighting for his life through out the movie. I’m not sure if he was born with the skills or if he knew he had to prove himself because of his father’s legacy, but Brandon Lee was legit in this flick… I also like that they established Tau’s fighting skills early on in the movie. On the surface you wouldn’t necessarily think he was a formidable foe, so that early scene planted the seed for the movie’s final confrontation… Another point I liked about Rapid Fire, is that the characters are believable in their particular fighting skill set and nobody comes across as invincible. Those are the key ingredients for interesting match ups.
- The Romance: There is a romantic subplot between Jake and a member of Mace’s team, Karla Withers (played by Kate Hodge). Sometimes these romances can really derail an action flick, but this one works and I think it helps that she’s a cop and pretty badass herself so it doesn’t get too sappy.
Watching Rapid Fire again after such a long time immediately made we question why it took me so long to watch it again and why it is not a part of my permanent collection. It is also on my ever growing list of action movies that I hope get the Blu-ray treatment sooner than later.
Solid story, excellent action and a great cast… not much more you can ask for with Rapid Fire. Watch this movie as soon as you possibly can.
And before I go, here’s a few more Rapid Fire Bullet Points…
- What Could Have Been: I have no doubt that Brandon Lee would have been one of the more successful action stars in Hollywood if not for his untimely death. He had the leading man looks, he was in great shape, he had legit martial arts skills, he also could speak English fluently unlike some of his contemporaries. Plus, being the son of Bruce Lee he had a built in following that he would have only added to as he made more movies.
- They Know Their Role: Rapid Fire had a pretty impressive cast from top to bottom, veteran actors like Powers Boothe, Nick Mancuso and Raymond J. Barry were a huge help for the up and coming Brandon Lee. But Rapid Fire also included two of Bulletproof Action’s favorite thugs/stunt men, Al Leong and Gene LeBell.
- Bowling For Criminals: I don’t believe it is ever explained why Mace Ryan’s team works out of an old bowling alley and not at police headquarters. But I may have missed the explanation in the awesomeness of Rapid Fire. Just another reason for me to watch again!
- Rockin’: The rock group Hardline provided two songs for the Rapid Fire soundtrack. You can check out the music video for Hardline’s “I’ll Be There For You” and some of the top notch action from Rapid Fire below…