Man Movie Encyclopedia: Rapid Fire
The loss of Brandon Lee is truly one of the greatest tragedies in the history of film. He had such a charisma and charm that it’s impossible not to like the guy. Also, like his father, he was a crack martial artist who was coming up on the speed once obtained by his father. He brought a lot of original and innovative fight scenes to his movie, with Rapid Fire being the first time I’d ever seen an inzaguri [someone is holding your leg, and you bring up your other leg to kick them]. Hell, most people kick the person and just fall down, but Brandon was such a stud he landed on the foot that just crushed your stupid face.
Brandon’s first big release was the one we’re speaking about here, Rapid Fire. So, let’s get into it, shall we?
Rapid Fire opens up with a mobster arriving in an undisclosed location in Asia to meet with his heroin supplier. The mob guy feels his Asian friend, Tau, owes him, and wants a cut of his action. Tau disagrees with all of this, and let’s it known by stick fighting a couple of guys. I’ve tried this tactic for years, but people just don’t take random stick fighting very seriously here, so I’ve had to stop carrying my stick around, and I’ll be honest, it saddens me.
We meet Jake Lo, a college student who’s studying art, and is the son of a former high ranking member of the Chinese Army. Just two years prior his father was killed at Tianamen Square, and Jake came back to America to start over.
There’s a Chinese Liberation group or something to that extent on campus, and they’re always trying to get Jake to participate, which he doesn’t want to do. Because talking is for pussies, and kicking solar plexes is the ONLY way to get shit done. One day a girl asks Jake if he’d like to attend a party with her, and he’s down. He knows she’s got some boobies that need groping, and he’s just the man for the job. Of course, she lied, as all women do, and the party is actually being hosted by those Liberation peeps. Well, Jake sits around for a minute because there’s free food, and anyone not mobbing on free food is a total pussy. Also going on at the party, we have our mob friend who days earlier was asking his Asian friend Tau if he wanted a Coke or a Pepsi and had to watch Tau answer him by stick fighting his maid.
Anyways, the mob guy’s name is Tony Serrano, and he’s here to kill Tau’s middle guy and take over his racket. Sure enough, he plants a shotgun shell in him, and Jake is a witness to it all. Tony isn’t too stoked about all this, and demands the head of Jake. Of course, he doesn’t realize that when Jake isn’t drawing pictures of rocking tits, he’s kicking motherfuckers so hard in the face it starts their cars. He gets to kicking major ass, and ends up getting arrested once the po-po get there.
From here they black mail Jake into testifying against Serrano. Telling him that if he doesn’t, they’ll go ahead with some trumped up charges. They fly Jake out to Chicago, and put him up in a safe house. Right there he should have known, because any time you’re a witness to a hit, and you get put in a safe house, TADOW! the cops are going to turn out to be dirty and wipe you out. Jake was about to rock an awesome pop-tart when these cock-blocking cops starting shooting at him. The attempt on his life is something to get pissed about, but fucking putting the halt on some pop-tart action? It’s time to shine his shoes, on your face, bitch. Also, these guys should have known Jake was nothing to fuck with, because from this point on in the film, he wears nothing but tank-tops.
We find out who’s been ratting him out, and he teams up with a local cop who’s been out to bust Serrano and Tao for years. The cop gets the dude who set him up, as well as Jake to wear a wire and head into Serrano’s HQ, and make it look like the guy is handing over Jake. Well, bad news for all the bad guys, Jake’s rocking his super bad-ass tank-top. He’s does everyone a favor, since they’re in their mid-40s, and gives everyone a free colonoscopy. With his feet. And fists. And bats. And some guns. Bunch of pussy cops and bad guys die, and the college kid studying art kicks the holy hell out of everyone and comes out with Serrano.
The cop, known as Mace, wants Jake to go undercover to snag Tao. Jake instead fucks his intelligence officer because she was there, and it was either that or kick her through a window. Me, personally, I would have rather seen him kick her through the window. After that he gets tired of not killing people, and dropping Macho Man style elbows on some groins.
He dresses up like a laundry shop worker, and gets into Tao’s industrial laundry shop where he’s smuggling heroin. His stupid cop friends get caught, because they weren’t wearing tank-tops, like idiots, so Jake has to save them. Mace does an awesome move where instead of ducking a bullet, he just jumps through a fucking window. Man, if people only did that instead of the stupid crap they usually do. Like talking. So, you know, when people think they have an opinion on something I’m talking about, instead of speaking on it, they jump through a window. God, that would rule. Hell, I’d do it.
So, of course Jake kicks the shit out of at least 32 million people, and has a tank-top for each one of them. Amen, brother.
This is a fantastic action movie, in perfect sync with early 90’s actioners. It’s a testament to how great Brandon Lee could have been, and also very sad. At least we got 3 awesome movies before he passed, with 2 certifiable classics [Showdown, and The Crow]. His fight scenes were incredibly innovative for the times, and he set the course for what they would tend to look like in the future. He also implemented a ton of fight with props and such years before Jackie Chan became world wide famous for it.
Official Man Movie Encyclopedia Tally:
Guys Beat Up: 27
Guys Killed: 28
Swear Words: 52
Slow-Motion Scenes: 23
Car Chases: 1
Chases on Foot: 3
Broken Bones: 3
Fight at a Motel? No
Guy Get Girl? Yes
Guy Smoke Cigarettes? No
Mace: Chicago PD thinks you’re a cop killer, know what that means?
Jake: I’m off the Department’s Christmas list?
Brandon wanted John Woo to direct, but the studio wanted a more martial arts based film, as opposed to the over the top blood baths that Woo tends to make. So, they tapped Dwight Little to direct, the man behind the camera for the Seagal classic Marked for Death.
Box Office Business:
Brought in a cool 14 million dollars.