Rapid Fire


Rapid Fire

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 19


Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,287
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Movie Info

Brandon Lee (son of famed martial-arts film star, Bruce Lee) stars as a young art student who happens to witness a drug murder and is placed in protective custody by federal agents. It's not too long before he realizes that the only real protection he can count on is his own martial-arts training.

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Brandon Lee
as Jake Lo
Powers Boothe
as Mace Ryan
Nick Mancuso
as Antonio Serrano
Raymond J. Barry
as Agent Stuart
Kate Hodge
as Karla Withers
Tzi Ma
as Kinman Tau
Tony Longo
as Brunner Gazzi
Dustin Nguyen
as Paul Yang
Basil Wallace
as Agent Wesley
Quentin O'Brien
as Agent Daniels
D.J. Howard
as Sharpie
Walter Addison
as Detective
John Vickery
as Detective
C'Esca Lawrence
as Lisa Stuart
Donald Li
as Tall Guard
Jeff McCarthy
as Agent Anderson
Steve Pickering
as Cop in Van
Will Kepper
as Jail Guard
Al Foster
as Jail Guard
Richard Schiff
as Art Teacher
Roy Abramsohn
as Agent Klein
Diana Castle
as Cop Gallery Alley
Chen Baoer Paul
as Laundry Worker
Cedric Young
as Chicago Uniform
Peter Russell
as Ambulance Driver
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Critic Reviews for Rapid Fire

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4)

Audience Reviews for Rapid Fire

  • Feb 21, 2017
    'Rapid Fire' is one of those action flicks from back in the day where you have a wickedly cool title for the movie, that doesn't relate to the plot in any way. It just looks and sounds cool, happened a lot during the 80's and 90's. You don't seem to see it too much anymore because I reckon they exhausted all possible options. That's my theory anyway, feel free to question it. So here we have a very oriental theme for the plot, aaand that's because Brandon Lee is the star. Heaven forbid they did away with stereotypical plot lines but hey, twas the 90's. So Lee plays this young dude called Jake Lo (Chinese on one side I presume) whose father was killed in a Tiananmen Square protest. I Presume the infamous 1989 protest but its actually not important in any way. He gets lured to a fundraiser for pro-democracy within China, mainly because both he and his father were at Tiananmen Square. Whilst there a drug kingpin called Serrano kills some bloke and Lo witnesses it. So the first half of the film is basically Lo trying to avoid being killed by Serrano before he can testify. The second part of the plot involves another Kingpin called Tau who is in cahoots with Serrano, but is the bigger player. Jake joins up with detective Mace Windu...I mean Mace Ryan (Powers Boothe) mainly for protection but also to bring down Serrano and obtain information about a future shipment organised by Tau. The unlikely partnership must stop both Serrano and Tau. OK so this isn't a buddy cop flick, but its close. The main protagonists comprise of Brandon Lee's young firm, muscles often glistening with sweat, martial arts expert Jake Lo. Alongside Powers Boothe's gruff stern, no nonsense cop who speaks through gritted teeth a lot. Sounds mighty familiar doesn't it, but trust me it really isn't a buddy cop/odd couple/double team fast food flick. Yes Lee's character does become good friends with Boothe's grumpy cop and does actually see him as a father figure in the end, but its not a buddy cop flick. In all honesty Mace tends to use Jake like bait on a string on most occasions, Jake even smacks Mace in the face at one point...but deep down they respect each other. These type of movies are a little tricky to gauge really, the reason being they are cliched as hell but you gotta take into account the year they were made. Being the early 90's you gotta accept the fact that the 80's was still held a strong influence over action flicks. The remnants and relics of that cheesy bygone era were still there to be found in spades. For instance, in this movie all the western baddie henchmen are dressed in suits with greasy slick-back hair, ponytails for some, very Eurotrash. They all seem to have instance access to big guns whenever something kicks off or is about to (and boy are some of their guns impressive!), and they are all terrible shots. The main henchman is a huge lumbering bloke with a slick-back ponytail (ahem) and a penchant for violence and pasta. The main antagonist Serrano, played by Nick Mancuso, is your typical over the top villain with again slick-back hair, a nice suit and he spends all his time in his restaurant (his HQ). On the flip side, all the eastern baddie henchmen are literally every single recognisable American actor of Asian descent you've ever seen in action flicks from the 80's. Al Leong and his Fu Manchu moustache are front and centre, Gerald Okamura, hell most of the background Asian actors from John Carpenter's 'Big Trouble in Little China' basically. Some epic levels of well known Asian character actors in here. The action is actually better than your average dated action fest. Brandon Lee performs lots of kung-fu hocus pocus obviously, its his action vehicle so whaddaya expect. But the gun fights are actually pretty solid stuff truth be told. When the cops battle it out with Serrano and co outside his restaurant its really well shot. Dare I say it actually looks and feels a bit like Michael Mann's 'Heat' with the zooming close-ups, angles and quite impressively realistic action. Apart from that its admittedly cliched business as usual with lots of exaggerated gun porn and cars that explode bit by bit when shot. The obligatory cheesy as fuck sex scene accompanied by rock music, and the obligatory one on one fight scene between the hero and villain (with obligatory nasty death) for the finale. Is this a cliched cheesy action movie? Yes I'm afraid it is. Is it a bad cliched cheesy action movie? Actually no it isn't. On a scale of cliched cheesy action fests this is genuinely one of the better offerings. But that's not because of Lee (who never seems to change out of a vest) or the plot, its mainly because of the action set pieces that engage, look good and are relatively realistic. In other words they aren't ridiculously over the top and require suspension of disbelief. The plot is simple as hell and offers nothing new (except maybe one surprise), the acting is acceptable and Lee shows us much potential which is both good and sad. Overall to look at this might come across as a silly chopsocky affair, no its actually much better than that.
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2009
    "Don't fear the weapon, fear the man."

    Designed and constructed as nothing more than a kick-'em-up action vehicle for Brandon Lee (son of Bruce Lee), Rapid Fire is satisfying patchwork genre filmmaking. It's a highly entertaining, albeit painfully generic pastiche of Mafioso politics, crooked FBI machinations, perpetual mayhem and an array of awesome action sequences. No elements are incorporated into Rapid Fire to hoist it above the territory of the strictly ordinary, but it remains fulfilling as a mindless action flick.

    The plot, naturally, has a clichéd ring to it: in a typically contrived way, Jake Lo (Lee) witnesses a mob execution. Jake agrees to testify against the Big Powerful Bad Guy No-One Has The Guts To Mess With, and the FBI places him in the witness protection program. Since it's an unwritten law in the world of action flicks, this witness protection program proves rife with corruption, and Jake - once framed by the FBI - is forced to take matters into his own hands. On the run from the law and caught in the middle of a battle between two feuding drug lords, the Jake is faced with only one way to clear his name: team up with a renegade cop (Boothe). Nothing new here, folks.

    Alan McElroy's screenplay (from a plot conceived by himself and Cindy Cirile) seems culled from about 15 television movies concerning witness relocation, unjustly-accused heroes, and cops so devious it's impossible to tell who to root for. The plot twists are all quite predictable, the love interest (in the form of a female cop played by Kate Hodge...is there any other kind?) seems rudimentary, and the villains are comprised of stock B-movie bad guy clichés. Point is, there's no narrative innovation, and characterisations are nothing unprecedented. But why watch such a motion picture on the basis of anything other than action? You shouldn't. Rapid Fire is an action movie; plain and simple. Sure, the world already has enough action movies, but Rapid Fire manages to do something that other action movies failed to achieve: showcase the amazing fighting skills and general agility of Bruce Lee's son. The film never breaks out of the B-movie mould, but Brandon Lee (who helped choreograph the fighting) is given multiple action scenes to work with, ensuring the movie is worth sitting through despite the recycled plot and characters.

    As for Brandon Lee, he's not as wooden as one might expect. It was to his advantage that his acting didn't suffer from the exasperating eccentricities of his action star peers - such as Steven Seagal's egocentric mumbling or the preening style of Jean-Claude Van Damme. Or, for that matter, he wasn't marred by any of their accents either. Lee could act; he emitted a charming screen presence of good looks and genuine cool. His fisticuffs are fluid and exhilarating, and boast an inventiveness rarely witnessed outside of Hong Kong kung-fu cinema - not only does Lee use his hands and feet as lethal weapons, but he also defends himself by improvising with nearby objects. Lee's sudden death (due to an on-set accident during production of his next movie, The Crow) is a true tragedy - the young lad had a promising career ahead of him. As for the rest of the cast, there's a solid, if routine performance courtesy of Powers Boothe playing the grizzled, single-track cop, in addition to Nick Mancuso who's passable as the villain, and Kate Hodge who's likeable but nothing special as the love interest. Al Leong makes a brief appearance to battle Lee at one stage, too. During the '80s, Leong's played background henchmen in several action films (like Die Hard and Action Jackson), and it's terrific to see him here.

    As far as standard, mindless cookie-cutter action movies (with little redeeming values) go, you could certainly do far worse than Rapid Fire, though that's hardly a ringing endorsement. Those who enjoy balls-to-the-wall action movies will find enough to enjoy within these fast-paced 90 minutes, but others need not apply.

    Cal ( Super Reviewer
  • Oct 08, 2008
    Great Martial Art movie
    Greg Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2007
    In this better-than-average kick-boxer foray, Brandon Lee (son of famed martial-arts film star, Bruce Lee) stars as a young art student who happens to witness a drug murder and is placed in protective custody by federal agents. It's not too long before he realizes that the only real protection he can count on is his own martial-arts training. This film is rated R for violence, sex and profanity.
    Martin D Super Reviewer

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