Rapid Fire
Fox // R // $14.98 // May 21, 2002
Review by Earl Cressey | posted June 10, 2002
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Review:
Rapid Fire

Movie:
Rapid Fire, originally released theatrically in 1992, was directed by Dwight H. Little. Starring in the film are Brandon Lee (Jake Lo), Powers Boothe (Lt. Mace Ryan), Nick Mancuso (Antonio Serrano), Kate Hodge (Karla), and Tzi Ma (Tau).

At a fundraiser in Los Angeles, Jake Lo sees Chicago Mob Boss Serrano kill Chang, a Chinese drug dealer working for Tau. Barely escaping with his life, he quickly finds himself the prize witness in a grand jury investigation into the activities of the Chicago mob and placed in witness protection. However, the agents assigned to him make an attempt on his life and then frame him for murder. Now on the run and caught in the middle of two drug lords, the only chance Lo has to clear his name is to team up with Mace Ryan, a renegade cop, and bring down the both Serrano and Tau.

While The Crow was unquestionably Brandon Lee's greatest film, Rapid Fire manages to do something that, for the most part, both The Crow and Showdown in Little Tokyo didn't: showcase Lee's amazing fighting ability. The film never completely breaks free from the B-movie mold, however, thanks to some bad dialogue, some questionable acting, and a bizarre love scene. Thankfully, Lee, who helped choreograph the fighting, is given quite a few action scenes to work with, making the film worth sitting through.

Picture:
Rapid Fire is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, though since the trailer is in 2.35:1, I'm unsure if this was the original aspect ratio. The Region 2 DVD, however, is also in 1.85:1. A few specks appear throughout the film, as does some artifacting. Detail is lacking in several scenes as well. Colors are well saturated throughout, with accurate flesh tones, and solid blacks.

Sound:
Rapid Fire is presented in Dolby 4.0 Surround in English and Dolby 2.0 Surround in French and Spanish. The front surrounds utilize a fair amount of separation to showcase the film's numerous action scenes, though a few of the effects sound a bit tinny. Dialogue is clean throughout. Optional English subtitles are available.

Extras:
Extras include a featurette, a Brandon Lee Profile, and trailers for Rapid Fire, Big Trouble in Little China, Broken Arrow, Kiss of the Dragon, Marked for Death, and Point Break. The featurette runs five minutes in length and contains interviews with Lee, Boothe, Mancuso, and others. The participants discuss the film's storyline: their comments are interspersed with a fair amount of film clips and some behind-the-scenes footage. The Brandon Lee Profile runs two and a half minutes in length and features most of the information and footage found in the featurette.

Summary:
While certainly not terrific, Rapid Fire manages to be entertaining and is highlighted by the spectacular fighting ability of the late Brandon Lee. The DVD is priced at a reasonable $14.98, considering the lack of substantial extras, so fans of the film should definitely consider a purchase. Others may find it worth watching, either as a rental or as late night fare on cable TV.



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