I really enjoyed this action movie in which the late Brandon Lee stars as sudent Jake Lo. I would have given "Rapid Fire" 5 stars but with the problems with the discs I lower my rating to 4 stars. (I realize this is not a 2-disc set, I will clarify my statement in a sec!).
It's a great film, and it is neat to see veteran stunt actor Gene LeBell as one of Cerano's ( Nick Mancuso ) thugs. Gene LeBell ( former pro-wrestler Hank Hangman ) has been in tons of movies over the years most recently ( to my mind ) as the cabbie that pulls his gun on both Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in the first "Rush Hour" movie. It's ironic and rather fitting that Gene also appeared with Brandon's dad Bruce ("Kato") on the TV show "The Green Hornet". Gene the burly redhead can be seen in "Rapid Fire" in the big shootout in the bar between Powers Boothe's cops and Cerano's thugs in the middle of the movie. Gene is the one wheeling out the big portable mounted machine gun.
It is here notably, that I experienced a problem with the disc. The next scene where Brandon (Jake) fights with Cerano's big thug behind the bar. During this scene I experience a pause flutter that I have to skip to get around. I've returned the DVD and bought other copies to have them all stop / "flutter" in the same spot. I have a second generation DVD player 1997(i.e. pre- DTS, progressive scan) yet I have played 100's of DVD's in my collection without such problems. It seems to be a read problem for my older Toshiba DVD player. I've recently bought a new Sony DVD player and it has NO problem reading the disc.
I have been a big fan of Brandon Lee and have eagerly awaited this film to be made available on DVD. Brandon's death greatly affected me, more so than his famous father's for I was very young when Bruce died (I'm close to Brandon's age). It's hard to imagine what a vacuum Bruce's untimely death left in young Brandon's life. I can only begin to imagine what a large shadow Brandon had to grow into manhood under! I followed Brandon's career closely and rooted for his successes. I know "Laser Mission" , to be kind, is not good, but as a completist I have it in my collection. Brandon's fans are doing themselves a disservice if they ignore the little known Hong Kong film "Legacy of Rage". I enjoyed "Showdown in Little Tokyo" when Brandon played second fiddle to Dolph Lundgren, I felt he should have been first chair! (I understand! He was paying his dues).
"Rapid Fire" is a great fight film for fight fans! With inventive choreography (for Hollywood!), remember this was pre- "Matrix", "Crouching Tiger"... Brandon displayed blossoming acting chops as well as kicks, which fans know bloomed in his poignant performance in "The Crow". His performances foretold of greatness tragically cut short by his accidental death. I viewed both "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story", and "The Crow" with a heavy heart haunted by the prophetic nature of both films.
There is a great fight near the end of the movie between Brandon (Jake) and Al Leong (not to be confused with "Aki "Al" Leong "Dragon:The Bruce Lee story"). Al Leong the veteran Martial Artist / choreographer has been in many memorable movies (most notably as "Endo" the torturer in the first "Lethal Weapon", or as the candy eating terrorist in Alan Rickman's "crew" in "Die Hard". Al's presence these days seem relegated to quick death cameos (if you blinked you missed him in the Japanese fish cannery boat in "Godzilla"*American flop*, and in the end gun battle of Chow Yun Fat's American Debut "The Replacement Killers". Al seems to be more behind the scenes now choreographing films like "The Scorpion King" (Al's visible in the fight choreography documentary on that DVD) Al Leong can be seen in the films "Big Trouble in Little China"(a personal fave!), "The Perfect Weapon", "Death Warrant", as well as "Showdown in Little Tokyo".
It is also cool to see veteran actor Tzi Ma as the head villian in "Rapid Fire". He is not just window dressing here (think Rush Hour 3), he actually gets to kick some butt! I noticed, as any fan of Hong Kong / Jackie Chan films would, that many Jackie Chan specific fight moves were borrowed and used in "Rapid Fire". Most notably Brandon's use of the rolling clothes rack to sweep the legs out from under the thugs at the laundry, and the motorcycle "crash / ride" of the thug on the front of the bike through glass cases was lifted from Jackie Chan's first "Police Story" movie. Oh well, as Colton said "Imitation is the sincerest of flattery".
In conclusion no fan of Brandon's, nor of action flicks should miss "Rapid Fire". People with older DVD players might experience read problems with the disc, the 95% of the rest of you...Buy with confidence. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Best Buy for this forum.