International superstar Chow Yun-Fat (John Woo's Hard-Boiled) makes his Hollywood debut with Oscar(r) winner Mira Sorvino (1995 Best Supporting Actress, Mighty Aphrodite) in THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS, a fierce and explosive action thriller from director Antoine Fuqua (Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" video). After he betrays Mr. Wei, the ruthless crime boss who hired him to avenge his son's death, professional killer John Lee (Yun-Fat) goes on the run. Enlisting the aid of beautiful document forger Meg Coburn (Sorvino), Lee attempts to return to his family in China before they are victimized by his betrayal. But Wei's army of "replacement killers" is hot on his trail, and now both he and Meg are targets of their impressive firepower. With both sides fully armed and determined to fight to the death, an ultra-violent shootout breaks out when they finally face off against each other.
The director of Chow Yun-fat's first Hollywood outing, music-video veteran Antoine Fuqua, seems to be trying to squeeze the charismatic Asian superstar into a conventional American action-hero mold, and the results are dispiriting. Fuqua never lets this high-spirited actor smile, fetishizing him as a gunslinging clotheshorse in a series of garish, scenery-smashing battle scenes. As a paid assassin whose former employers turn against him, Chow enlists the help of an illegal documents specialist played, with surprising grit, by Mira Sorvino, and then spends most of the time fending off squads of killers in mirror shades. The movie is art-directed and photographed fit to kill (even the most routine incidents are eye-gougingly colorful) and edited to a hip-hop beat. It's garishly superficial. The frequent gunplay duels may keep action fans riveted, but they'll hate themselves in the morning. --David Chute