The Replacement Killers review

The Replacement Killers is a God-awful movie from start to finish, but the plot's rushed attempts at moving from one flimsily manufactured gunfight scene to another make the whole shebang a near-perfect blueprint for a video game.

The film opens with Lee pacing in slo-mo through a crowded nightclub and blowing some thugs away. Next up, a docklands shoot-out, with cop Zedkov killing Wei's son. Then, for the rest of the movie, tiny slivers of plot are nestled between increasingly dull bouts of gunplay in an office, a car-wash, a video arcade, a cinema and any other curious place that can be lit strangely.

True to the video game ideal, none of the bad guys could hit an elephant if it was sellotaped to the end of a shotgun, while Lee even has to fight his way up a fire escape to finish off the end-of-level boss. Fade out.

Fat's lines are few and short (this is, after all, his first Hollywood film) to combat his basic grasp of English. Making up for his silence is sidekick Sorvino, who inexplicably switches from harmless forger to killing machine, while failing to be convincingly punky, sassy or streetwise.

Jurgen Prochnow seems to sense that all is lost, so he camps it up as Wei's right-hand man, but everyone else plays it straight and delivers the highest un-intentional laugh-count since The Postman.

The scene where Wei's newly hired guns (the eponymous replacement killers) arrive in leather pants and long raincoats is giggle central, and gratuitous slo-mo, numerous candles and lingering close-ups of Buddhist statues only high-light how the film would desperately love to possess the flair and style of a Hong Kong action movie. It tries, but fools no-one. Stay away.

Flatly directed, vacuously scripted and almost entirely pointless, The Replacement Killers is a supremely silly film which plays more like a parody of a Hong Kong action movie than an American version of one.

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