Rapid Fire is a film you watch with a heavy heart. It’s certainly not the best action movie, but it shows us a promise of what could have been. The film stars Brandon Lee, and it’s clear when you watch that he was going to be a star. His last film, The Crow, would have made the man a superstar. When you watch Rapid Fire, you can see that superstar peeking through. Lee owns the screen every moment he’s on it, you can’t take your eyes off of him. Rapid Fire was released in 1992; a year later, Lee would be dead.
If not for the cast, Rapid Fire would be fairly dull. The plot is way overloaded, featuring too many villains and too many twists and turns. It’s about shipments of heroin and the mob or something. The stakes never feel that high and it’s hard to say why the bad guys want Lee’s character dead so bad. I mean, they say it’s because he witnessed a shooting, but in a effort to capture him they shoot the hell out of everybody, often in full view of cops. It’s bananas.
Story aside, the action in this flick is pretty great. The fight scenes look fantastic and the shootouts are epic. Seriously, Rapid Fire features the most well armed police force ever and the bad guys are step up from them. They have mounted machine guns hidden in their coat closets. You know, just in case. As you might expect, Brandon Lee steals the show with his hand-to-hand skills. He effortlessly leaps through the fight scenes, spinning off of walls, breaking arms, flipping tables, and kicking heads in. Lee moves with such fluid grace and skill, it’s a damn crime that we didn’t get more movies like Rapid Fire with him.
Acting as Lee’s partner, of sorts, is Powers Boothe. I don’t want to oversell this, but Powers Boothe is the greatest ever in the history of all things. He plays “pissed off” better than anybody and in Rapid Fire he is absolutely glowing. He growls, screams, and shots his way through scene after scene. The best moment in the whole movie occurs at bowling alley where Boothe decides to pick up a spare with his .45. Nobody even bats an eye.
Rapid Fire also features some awesome performances from Al Leong, Tzi Ma, and Michael Paul Chan. Considering it’s low profile, Rapid Fire is surprising well acted. The script is clunky, but these guys and gals do an earnest job of making it work. Thanks to the great cast and awesome acting, Rapid fire is a solid movie. Definitely worth watching, if you haven’t experienced it.
It goes without saying that The Crow is Brandon Lee’s best movie. There’s no arguing that. When you look at that masterpiece along side Rapid Fire, it’s obvious that Lee hand all the makings of the next big action star. We were robbed of years of great movies with him. Watching any movie Lee stars in is always a somewhat sad experience for me, there’s just so much potential there. We’ll always have Rapid Fire to remind us of Lee’s charm, jump kicks, and awesome abs.