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The Replacement Killers (1998)

The Replacement Killers (1998)

John Woo and Chow Yun-fat are in Hollywood! That's what this movie feels like. It's got the same style and grime, but not as much of the blood, smoke and fire from before. Danny Trejo plays a small role, as does James Lew and Jimmy Ortega. Not a full-fledged A-movie cast, but not bad - they all have their place in movies like this.

In the shoot-outs it feels like a lot of shots don't hit even when they should, but apart from that the action is authentic. The story's that of a killer (that's Chow Yun) who grows a conscience and can't complete his one final job. His boss chases him down, but in the end... who's really the one getting chased? Along the way he decides to get a fake passport to flee the country and find his family, and Mira Sorvino gets mixed in as the secondary protagonist - I'm pretty sure I've seen her in some movies before...

The plot reminds of The Killer, which is also a John Woo movie starring Chow Yun-fat. I guess stories do tend to repeat themselves, or maybe this was intended as a Americanization of a movie from a long time past - with a better end. Either way it feels familiar.

It's really not that special an action movie, and looking back some of the things that seemed stylish and cool back then feel a bit cheesy now, but it works well with the in-movie atmosphere, and when it's all done: it's done. It lives by its name this movie, no more no less. Good watch.

 rated 3/5: not bad


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  1. S3C
    Tuesday Dec/20/2016

    just a's basically the poster-movie for 90s gun-action flicks...minus all the needless romance.

  2. Cyber
    Tuesday Dec/20/2016

    Poster-movie of 90's action? Terminator 2 comes to mind hmm, Con Air, Face/Off, Demolition Man, Total Recall, The Rock, Point Break, Lethal Weapon, Mission Impossible, Blade, The Last Boy Scout, Speed, Last Action Hero... and many others. So many classic action flicks in that era.

    Hard Boiled came out '92, too, my definite favorite of all John Woo flicks, also with Chow Yun. If you liked this and haven't seen that I'd recommend it! It's on a whole other level IMO. And also minus that romance.

    This wasn't bad, it's just... not all that memorable.

  3. S3C
    Tuesday Dec/20/2016

    hmmm, good point. Guess I should have said singular non-sci-fi action gun flicks with an Asian male character and white women sidekick. Out of that list, I would only rank Demolition Man and Total Recall higher. FaceOff comes very close, and of course Con Air, Blade, Mission Impossible, and Terminator where good films as well. The Rock (not starring The Rock) was decent as well. Haven't seen the others...I also would include Broken Arrow (also directed by Woo) in that list...ever seen it?

  4. Cyber
    Tuesday Dec/20/2016

    lmao. XD If it wasn't for that white woman sidekick I think I could've written up a few other alternatives. Hmm I'd rank all of the aforementioned ones higher than this, though the order of those is trickier, if in groups...

    1.) Hard Boiled
    2.) Terminator 2, Con Air, Mission Impossible
    3.) Demolition Man, The Rock, Point Break, Blade, Speed
    4.) Total Recall, Face/Off, Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero

    The Rock really had a misleading title fo shizzle. In retrospect pretty good promotion since anyone searching for the actor will get the movie too. Or not (just tried, didn't work)... well, 'The Rock movie' works, if anyone ever searches that way. Not sure I've seen Broken Arrow, but if I have it was a long time ago. May as well add to mah watchlist too.

    A few other classic gun-runner action flicks from the 90s btw: True Lies, Die Hard (1-3), Goldeneye, Air Force One, Bad Boys, Desperado, Universal Soldier, Eraser, Rush Hour, Ronin, Executive Decision, Three Kings, The Fifth Element, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Matrix, Passenger 57...

  5. Cyber
    Tuesday Dec/20/2016

    Oh btw, had you seen Hard Boiled before? Judging by them other recommendations it seems like you may have seen most of Woo's movies...?

  6. S3C
    Saturday Dec/31/2016

    I have now!! (ever heard of 123movies). Hard-boiled...truly a bad@ss film...I prefer my eggs scrambled though. I would still rate it just a notch below the Replacement Killers though. The only thing HardBoiled has on it imo is the well-developed plot-line. More action too, but the cinematography is sometimes confusing, especially in the earlier scenes. The production in Replacement Killers is better, more modern, the characters are more varied and interesting, the movie just rolls along more cohesively...And the music. It was consistently great in the Replacement Killers, and while there was some AWESOME music in HardBoiled, with jazz infused with oriental melodies, interesting cinematic styles, and a couple catchy-as-hell electronic 80s tunes, there were points where the score was distracting and annoying. But it is tough. Certainly too great Woo Watches!

    Well Matrix trumps everything, but I would categorize that film (along with The Fifth Element and Blade) separately. Air Force One is a classic skydiving flick. Eraser is a joke movie. Forgot about Bad Boys...I remember a plane at the end, a young Martin Lawrence, a bologna sandwich and a woman that resembles Kevin Bacon...Bad Boys II rocked though. Rush Hour, indeed another classic. lol Rush Hour 4 is being planned...As for the rest, looks like I've got a lot of Hollywood Homework to catch up on...

  7. S3C
    Saturday Dec/31/2016

    Golden Eye is probably my favorite Bond movie (seen most of the them pre Daniel Craig). Strange though, my interest in the series has waned as it has with Star Wars. Two series I used to obsess over as a child.

  8. Cyber
    Saturday Dec/31/2016

    I have now. :) And lmao, same here. Or fried. Healthier scrambled.

    IMO Hard Boiled had much stronger personalities - the villains in particular, and the action (albeit exaggerated/stylized) felt authentic - for example not as many missed shots as in Replacement Killers. Casualties in abundance. I can see how the new does have a more modern feel, but I suppose that might be one of the reasons I like the old one too. I like the style of action Woo worked with back then: the grimy, gritty, over-the-top grindhouse-like mastery. I appreciate firework effects and authentic bullet holes more than the CGI in the new, for example. As for plot clarity, I suppose watching the movie multiple times might have made me immune to potential confusion in the earlier scenes...

    Did love the dystopian eighties-style chase music in Hard Boiled too, and all that jazz indeed. Didn't think much about the music in Replacement Killers, which I suppose means it might've been polished to the point you don't think so much about it; it doesn't distract at all, but still ups the tension, though the music is a memorable part of the former to me. Glad you watched and liked it though, and that it comes that close to what appears to be a real favorite of yours! Seems our tastes differ a bit as for the details.

    I'd probably put Matrix up in the second tier. It was a revolutionary idea, and very well-filmed - even the CGI doesn't seem to age at all, but compared to Hard Boiled hmm... tough call. Yeah, I suppose they don't really fit the gun-slinger genre. Blade's a hybrid in many ways. As for Eraser: I liked Eraser! Not 'professional', but good action. Oh, yeah, Bad Boys II was about as good as an action movie can get. Powerful. Personal. Flawless. I'd put that on the top tier too. Been looking forward to the new Rush Hour a few years now, wondering if it'll ever B Real!

    Incorporating the recently mentioned titles into the current tier rankings, for me it'd be:

    1.) Hard Boiled, Die Hard 3
    2.) Terminator 2, Con Air, Die Hard 1 & 2, Mission Impossible
    3.) Demolition Man, The Rock, Point Break, Speed, Goldeneye, Bad Boys, Rush Hour
    4.) Total Recall, Face/Off, Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero, Air Force One, Desperado, Executive Decision, Three Kings, Universal Soldier
    5.) True Lies, Eraser, Passenger 57

    Haven't seen The Long Kiss Goodnight btw. Seemed good though. On my watchlist too. Skimming through my list of movies I've barely reviewed any of these classics either, could make for a pretty intense marathon sometime. :)

  9. Cyber
    Saturday Dec/31/2016

    Goldeneye is probably my favorite pre-Craig movie in the series too, though I think the new ones are new favorites. Both Skyfall and Spectre were great, and Casino Royale before that. Quantum of Solace ehh... no. They took a wrong step with that one.

    I didn't really grow up with either of these series, but I'm getting into James Bond a bit more now than I used to. Think I had a wave of Star Wars, but not so much now. Hesitantly hopeful about the new one though. Last year's reboot was pretty awesome if you haven't seen it!

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