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Running Time: 95 minutes
Starring: Brandon Lee
Written by: Alan McElroy
Directed by: Dwight Little
Retail Price: $14.98
Features: Trailer, Featurette, Brandon Lee Profile
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby 4.0 Surround, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (25 Scenes)
Released: May 21st, 2002
Ah, 1992. Remembered for things like Clinton playing his saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show, the third season of The Simpsons, and the blockbuster Rapid Fire starring Brandon Lee. He's best known for being the son of Bruce Lee, and not wanting to have his career defined by being the son of Bruce Lee.
Rapid Fire was directed by Dwight H. Little. It deals with Brandon Lee's character Jake Lo being pursued by everybody and their brother after he witnesses a murder committed by a mafia boss, who has connections to his father's murder in a pro-democratic Chinese protest. A renegade cop helps him out, and you can probably fill in the blanks from there. The plot flows predictably, thanks to the exclusive use of archetypical characters. For the most part, stock action one-liners are the only comedic relief given, and that's all that seperates the mindless fists of fury action given by Lee. Like many of his father's films, this serves almost entirely as a trailer for the martial arts skills Lee developed. He's nary seen picking up a gun three times, though true to action form he always seems to waste the bad guys. Rapid Fire won't be acclaimed for its direction, nor its acting, nor its script, but rather its star and his talent. Overall if you're an action movie fan this is more of the same, but unless you want a generic shoot-'em-up skip this one -- you're not missing much.
Presented in the original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1, the video in this film, like many other DVDs, is truly a mixed bag. At times the picture is well-saturated and fine to behold, but there's also film and compression artifacts throughout the movie. Out of a studio like Fox who have shown they can do superb transfers this is more disappointing than it would be out of a smaller studio with a smaller budget. It's not a stunning transfer, but it's passable for what it is -- an early-90s action flick.
Audio is presented in English 4.0 Dolby Surround, and French and Spanish (2.0) Dolby Surround (though those are misnomers; portions of the film are in Mandarin Chinese.) Oddly enough considering the trilingual audio track presented, subtitles are available only for English. The track is well-mixed; the relative recentness of the film is likely attributable for this. The use of 4.0 in lieu of 5.1 is hard to understand -- the budget used to mix a stereo film into 4.0 couldn't have been much lower than one to mix it in 5.1. Dialogue and sound effects are crisp overall, but occasionally the latter drowns out the former (as happens in action films.)
Brandon Lee profile, brief featurette, theatrical trailer for this and other Fox films. The profile is mostly him talking about the film, not much going into his life, and is 2:24. The featurette is 4:49 and is more an extended trailer for the movie than anything else. It includes clips culled from interviews with the profiled about the film, martial arts, and his father (though more the first than the second or third). It's pretty light, though it has some behind-the-scenes footage that's mildly interesting. Mostly it's just Brandon saying the movie is good and he's a martial artist and shows quite a few clips from the film. The trailer is pretty representative of a early-90s action film trailer, and I could see it being used in a cinema class for such a purpose. Other trailers included are Big Trouble in Little China, Broken Arrow, Kiss of the Dragon, Marked for Death, and Point Break.
DUH MY NAME IS MARCUS AND I FORGOT TO WRITE THIS SECTION OF THE REVIEW. BUT GIVEN MY SCORES, IT'S AVERAGE AT BEST! (This portion written by your editor-in-chief).