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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.78%
Worth A Look: 23.73%
Pretty Bad: 30.51%
Total Crap: 3.39%

5 reviews, 29 user ratings

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Replacement Killers, The
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by Chris Parry

"The beginning of the end for Mira Sorvino and Chow Yun Fat."
2 stars

Mira Sorvino won an Oscar once, you know? Seriously. That's right, the one that wasn't funny in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, wasn't dramatic in Mimic, and wasn't anywhere close to an action star in The Replacement Killers actually won an Oscar once. It will never happen again, that's for certain, as Sorvino's awful script choices since have seen her lunge from one bomb to the next in a string of career-killers culminating with this one. As for Chow Yun Fat - does he ever get a facial cramp grimacing for two hours at a time?

So the Fat is a contract killer who is sent out to take out a cop's son. Problem is, for the honorable assassin, the kid is seven and really doesn't deserve to get a bullet in his head just because his dad is a prick. So Fat backs off and plans his escape from the inevitable payback.

Enter Sorvino, a forger Fat needs to get him some fake papers so he can leave the country. She has a huge downtown office with top notch security and computer equipment, yet she only charges Fat a thousand bucks for a fake passport. Hope she's doing a lot of business, or the rent might be hard to pay next month.

But oh no! The replacement killers (hence the title) are now coming after both Fat and Sorvino (since she's associated with the Fat) and the kid as well! Which means honorable killer has to save himself, kidnap Sorvino, and protect a kid he was paid to kill. Confusing? It really isn't once you understand that the writer was drunk or on crack or just taking a lot of easy options. For example, he wants Sorvino and Fat to hook up but can't think of a really good reason for them to do so, so he puts together this lame 'he really needs a passport and she's the only one who can make one' routine. To drive home the fact that he needs one, Fat gets news that his family in China will be killed soon. Now, you and me might call them and say "I'm wiring you a thousand bucks, take a holiday to Kung Pow, I'm heading to Mexico," but not our Fat. He REALLY needs that passport.

Sorvino, for her part, tries really hard. She honestly gives it her best. She wants to be an action heroine, dammit! Problem is she's about as tough as the skin on a three-day-old yogurt. I mean, don't get me wrong, I dig little Mira's thang. Her freshly punched nose, her fat lips, this is a woman just made to play 'skank', but in this instance she's playing a skank so polished, so Hollywood, so non-real, that you spend the entire movie waiting for her to either get naked or killed.

And she almost manages both. For some odd reason, Mira's character spends half of this movie running about in an unbuttoned shirt and black bra, just because I guess it's too much effort to reach down with one hand and button the thing when you're being chased by gunmen. Throw in a few scenes of Mira getting dressed in her bathroom and you begin to realize what this film is really about - guns and black underwear - story be damned.

Fat's action scenes are reminiscent of his usual Hong Kong-based bullet ballets, where he slides around in slo-mo and shoots people before he's actually seen them, but that's cool, you buy into that when you hit 'play' on the VCR. Anyone expecting Shakespearean sonnets from senor Chow better check themselves for a case of 'dumb ass'. One question worth asking is, if Woo is so honorable in not wanting a child to die, what’s his take on the approximately two dozen others that die while he’s trying to save the kid? It’s a question neither he nor the writers have the slightest intention of answering.

Produced by John Woo and seemingly intent on copying him in every way, The Replacement Killers is typical of Hollywood's treatment of Asian action stars - it just doesn't know what to do with them. By watering down the usual action content and throwing in a recognizable (if not exactly box office-igniting) American name (in her underwear), the powers that be have created a mess.

If you catch it on cable and honestly don't have any friends, any hobbies, or any chores around the house that need doing, then I guess you might as well kill 90 minutes watching it. Or yourself, whatever suits.

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originally posted: 09/10/02 04:40:12
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User Comments

2/11/15 david froman average action flick 3 stars
12/21/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess A very entertaning action/drama 4 stars
10/12/08 Mr.Hyde Blasphame, ya'll can blow me 5 stars
12/26/06 johnnyfog UNFULFILLING. but good cast, even if the plot's retarded 3 stars
3/09/06 Mushuga Complete and utter garbage,'s better than "Bulletproof Monk." 2 stars
11/25/05 CONSTANTINE AWESOME, not a bad transition for Chow, but coudl've been BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/18/05 Hack-SAW The last 20 minutes resembles "The Killer" & "A Better Tommorow"; the rest resembles SHIT!! 3 stars
2/25/04 Stacey Rafferty One of the best Action Films 5 stars
8/01/03 LeoH Don't think, just let the color drenched images seep into your brain. 4 stars
6/21/03 Sammy The Killer is chow's best movie 3 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby Cliched but directed and performed with flair. 3 stars
6/12/02 malcolm a not so great attempt by American filmmakers at Hong Kong style filmmaking 3 stars
3/05/02 Alan Smithee Chow Yun-Fat is cool as always and Mira looks great, but the movie sucks. 2 stars
3/18/01 klw I think most of are missing the point, this movie isn't about content its about COOL! 4 stars
4/27/99 Lucas jackson Fuck Fats movies were good until he came to Hollywood,use his talents well,fuck Hollywood 2 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson Why is water wet? Why did this movie have to suck? 3 stars
4/06/99 Michael Grimm Chow yun fat justs oozes machismo 4 stars
2/27/99 Jerry-93 The breakneck pace caused me to shit my pants 2 stars
2/19/99 charhas I liked it, wasn't as stylized as most HK films, just really gritty 4 stars
1/27/99 Dirty Ol' Bastard Mira has a nice butt... nuff said. 4 stars
11/24/98 Fred Who does Chow hate more, the execs, or Mira. A corpse's penis can write better stuff. 1 stars
10/06/98 katherine ugh. SO STUPID. 1 stars
9/22/98 ARMA-FUCKN-GEDDON Better than I thought.. Smooth action,great directing, Mira is hot! 4 stars
9/20/98 LuvPat I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Very entertaining 4 stars
9/07/98 BBReBozo Yun-Fat's first attempt at English dialogue. And his last English-speaking movie. 3 stars
8/28/98 Mister Whoopee Close the book on Mira's A-list existence. 2 stars
8/16/98 Johny I dug Yun-Fat some of the action, but I wish it had a decent script. 2 stars
8/15/98 {{{OZ}}} Yun-Fat has seen better days and what was Mira thinking?!?! 3 stars
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  12-Jan-1998 (R)
  DVD: 25-Apr-2006



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