Replacement Killers [1998]

This didn't turn out to be quite the deserving American vehicle for Hong Kong action superstar Chow Yun-fat that it should have been. But it is an entertaining potboiler about a hired gun (Chow) who fails to carry out an assignment to kill a cop (which would leave the fellow's son without a father), and becomes a target himself when the contract is handed over to other assassins. Mira Sorvino plays a document forger who is drawn into the fray, pairing up with the hero as they fight their way out of bad spots. The whole enterprise is a little too routine, but the action is sharp and the battles are imaginative and crisp. Director Antoine Fuqua has a by-the-numbers feeling for the influence of Hong Kong on contemporary thrillers (this film was also produced by John Woo), and that's enough to make The Replacement Killers purely enjoyable if not exactly a revelation. --Tom Keogh

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