Rapid Fire (1992)

R   |    |  Action, Crime, Drama

Rapid Fire (1992) Poster

When student Jake Lo witnesses a killing, he finds himself caught between two feuding drug lords. Betrayed and set up by the federal agents, the only person he can trust is Ryan, a Chicago cop who reminds Jake of his deceased father.




  • Brandon Lee in Rapid Fire (1992)
  • Brandon Lee and Dwight H. Little in Rapid Fire (1992)
  • Brandon Lee and Al Leong in Rapid Fire (1992)
  • Brandon Lee in Rapid Fire (1992)
  • Brandon Lee and Al Leong in Rapid Fire (1992)
  • Rapid Fire (1992)

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5 September 1999 | FlyBoyDC
A tremendous, but sadly neglected ace thriller with impressive action scenes and a cool performance by Brandon Lee.
At first glance, RAPID FIRE may only look like the undistinguished martial arts motion picture. However, once you view this illustriously grand action flick, you will be pleasantly amazed. Believe me, you will have discovered pure gold!

Jake Lo (Brandon Lee) is a young art student caught in the middle of a violent crime scene. After inadvertently witnessing the execution of a businessman, Carl Chang (Michael Paul Chan), Lo eventually finds himself to be a moving target. With no one to turn to for help, he can only rely on his instincts if he wants to stay alive...

Chang just happens to be an associate of a heinous drug kingpin named Kinman Tau (Tzi Ma). Understandably, Tau is ticked off at this very moment. Tau decides to go to war against his Mafia counterpart, Antonio Serrano (Nick Mancuso), who was the guy that ordered Chang's murder. A ferocious drug war is soon to erupt between the Chinese and Italian mobs. Guess who is caught in the middle? Jake Lo will imminently find himself fighting against both sides...

With corrupt cops and crooked FBI agents on his trail, plus the expected Chinese and Italian gangs who both want his head, the `kid' Jake Lo seems to be unfairly outnumbered. However, there are three people that Lo may be able to trust. One, he knows that he can trust himself, that's for sure. The other two `allies' are Mace Ryan (Power Booths), and his assistant, Intelligence Officer Karla Withers (Kate Hodge). Even with help on his side, the kid must keep fighting...for the sake of clearing his own name and saving his own life...

Jake Lo may be unarmed...but watch out, he is viably a one-man army.

RAPID FIRE is far from being a perfected masterpiece, but it does try. Yes, the movie has its liabilities. Admittedly, the film's major foible is its plot. Some elements are cliché ridden and the people in this movie behave in a volatile manner. These villainous henchmen obviously need target practice too. Also, an intriguing sub-plot about Lo's family participating in the Tiananmen Square massacre is well-intentioned but never fully developed. If the script focused a little bit more about Jake's family background and their involvement in the massacre, then perhaps this film could have a substantial amount of insight about the horrors of Tiananmen and how it has affected the lives of many Chinese people.

Unfortunately, another problem prevailing in this movie is the common use of typical Oriental stereotypes. On the bright side though, the Asians are portrayed more often as heroes rather then sadistic villains. Meanwhile, the Mafioso also gets the *Hollywood* treatment...

Frankly, the film may have its many cheesy moments, but I am willing to let most of them slide. The plot itself lacks the needed twists, but who cares, the action, which is essentially directed with flair, is what counts...

If action is what is important to you, then action is what you get. RAPID FIRE certainly rates high on the entertainment scale. The action is as explosive as dynamite. From the noteworthy stick fight in the beginning to the intense shoot-out inside a museum, RAPID FIRE strikes with highlighted, exceptional action sequences. The best action scene has to be the meticulously crafted fists-and-guns battle inside a Chicago restaurant. RAPID FIRE is an out-and-out thriller. It contains nonstop thrills with adrenaline pumping, glass shattering action. This film rushes at a breakneck pace. The explosive action will knock you out of your seat!

As well, the cast is accomplished, with fine performances by Tzi Ma and Nick Mancuso as the despicable villains. Powers Boothe is good as a hard-line yet compassionate undercover police officer. It is also interesting to see how this brave but irrational cop reminds the main character of his own father and how he behaved. Kate Hodge is cute but always persistently dedicated to her duties as Ryan's crackerjack partner. Tony Longo (THE ART OF DYING) is also adequate as Serrano's colossal right-hand man.

Without a doubt, the motion picture's star, the late Brandon Lee is a natural talent. He has some really cool techniques. Like his father Bruce, Brandon Lee is one of the finest martial artists to have graced the screens. Brandon Lee is an appropriately strong action hero. The director, Dwight H. Little (MURDER AT 1600, MARKED FOR DEATH) wisely keeps the film moving while allowing Brandon Lee to demonstrate his martial arts prowess. As for his acting ability, though Lee is not an adept actor, he is a refined, suave character who conveys many emotions including firm cynicism (i.e. when the hero refuses to join a politically motivated organization), requisite charisma, and occasional light-hearted humor. On screen, he may look tough on the surface, but he is inherently soft. He even has a charming sense of humor (like his father). The director continuously focuses the spotlight on Lee as the star. Lee is a deft, skillful martial artist primed to follow in his father's footsteps...

Thanks to a solid lead and some wild action sequences, RAPID FIRE is better than the customary martial arts adventure. The hand-to-hand combat is magnificent and the movie is just brimming with technical bravura. I cannot praise this movie enough. If you enjoy high-octane fun (and who does not), then prepare for RAPID FIRE excitement. It is a swift, professionally made movie that never fails to entertain. RAPID FIRE is awesome. It is a surefire bet for enthusiasts of sleek and smooth cinema.

As for the great Brandon Lee, it is too tragic that an auspicious young actor has passed on. He definitely would have been as great as his legendary father. Though Brandon Lee may be gone, his spirit will live on in everyone's hearts and memories.

RATING: *** out of ****.

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