Last night I watched the supremely awesome Rapid Fire, starring the late Brandon Lee. Now, let’s get this straight – Rapid Fire isn’t an example of some kind of crazy, mold-breaking martial arts flick that re-set the stage for Hollywood live-action martial arts movies (you can probably attribute that to The Matrix, which introduced Hollywood to the concept of *shock* kung fu, choreographed by HK talent no less [it also liberally “borrowed” from more movies than you can poke a stick at, but that’s another story]). Nope, this is a piece of 1992 wrapped up in cliche after cliche, but it still wins at life.
The movie sees our hero (and Art major) Brandon Lee running around a college campus with super-champ Dustin Nguyen following Brandon surviving some tanks at Tienanmen Square. Brandon then attends a party at a trendy warehouse where a Taiwanese drug trafficker gets shot by an American mafia hitman; Brandon sees it, everyone brings out uzis and shoots out all the glass they can see, Brandon does some biffo, drives his motorbike through the warehouse (also through lots of glass), and gets picked up by the cops. Given the mafia connection, he’s taken as a witness with the “feds”, corruption and more awesome biffo ensue as Art student Brandon beats the snot out of more whiteshirts, whereupon he gets taken in by a tough-talking police detective guy who says “damnit!” and in extreme situations, “God damnit!”, an awful lot. He also meets a female detective, and as per the rules of all Hollywood martial arts flicks of this era, they shag. There’s also a shootout at a mafia headquarters/restaurant in there, and more biffo in a Chinatown laundry where the chief drug trafficker gets taken down in yet another shodown. Cue the credits, rpelete with wiggly-wiggly guitar, and possibly some saxophone.
In short, utter win 🙂
What stands out in this one is that Lee is actually not too bad on screen (as opposed to Showdown in Little Tokyo, which is a hilarious mess), the fighting choreography by Jeff Imada and Brandon Lee is actually very tight and snappy, and the whole production isn’t too overblown with silly acting and stupid inconsistencies. Wifey also reckons Brandon Lee is a bit of alright, and since he spends reasonable portions of the movie without his shirt on, it meant that we could watch it together without her falling asleep 😛
Rapid Fire won’t win any crazy awards for anything in particular, but it does make for an enjoyable 90 minutes of awesome crazy era between 1988 and 1993 where cheap martial arts flicks ruled the video shelves at your local, and every now again you stumbled upon a winner.