The Good

From a purely action standpoint this movie is certainly worth owning.

The Bad

With HD titles on the market and Blu-ray around the corner why did they feel the need to release this film now?

Having seen The Replacement Killers in the movie theater, I remember being struck by how solid I thought the action was. While the movie itself was basically forgettable in my opinion, I was excited to screen this new "extended cut." Well, even with 10 minutes added into The Replacement Killers, I still find that this movie leaves me wanting.

This tale of John Lee (Chow Yun-Fat) wanting to return to China, after he sparks the ire of mob boss Mr. Wei, to defend his family is pretty routine. I think the producers somehow felt that putting Academy Award winning actress Mira Sorvino in a co-starring role would enhance this movie's credibility in some way. It isn't that anyone in this film turns in a bad performance, but rather it seems like nothing has been done to make the movie itself rise above it's own formula.


Making of The Replacement Killers

A standard "making of" featurette in which the creative forces behind this film talk about bringing it to the big screen. They discuss working together, doing the various action and special effects scenes and just generally why they wanted to tell this story. I have always found Antoine Fuqua to be very interesting so it was cool seeing how this film was put together.

Chow Yun-Fat Goes Hollywood

Being a huge star in his native Hong Kong and with Hong Kong action films being very popular, it makes sense that the star of some of John Woo's best known films would make his way to the US. This featurette looks at how the actor came west and what it was like for him to work within the US film system.


2.40:1 - Anamorphic Widescreen. As this picture has been digitally remastered I wasn't surprised that the images looked as solid as they did. Even on my 9" TV set, I was very surprised at how even though I found this film to be tonally dark, the images didn't pixilate the way that I thought they would. In fact, I am willing to bet that this will be a popular title with the new DVD technology. Overall, I think the current picture quality is really good.


Dolby Digital. Re-mastered in High Definition. English 5.1 and French. Subtitled in English and French. Close Captioned. Like the picture, the sound has also been bumped up to give this movie a much fuller quality. Sadly, I didn't watch this DVD on a really good system because I think I might have liked the movie more that way. Seeing it on my small, one speaker TV, I thought it looked good but something was lost with the sound. I might even try screening it again on someone else's surround sound system.


Mira Sorvino and Chow Yun-Fat are featured on this front cover with a lot of red and black all around them. The back showcases some shots from the film, a description of what The Replacement Killers is about, a "Special Features" list, a cast list and some technical specs. This unrated version of the film has a certain mystery to it and that just might be enough to entice DVD buyers.

Final Word

Okay, why is it that it seems like winning an Oscar can be the death knell of your career? What did that gold statue really do for Mira Sorvino? Adrian Brody? F. Murray Abraham? Gwyneth Paltrow? It seems like these actors hit a certain point a little too early in their careers? Maybe if they had been given time to do other roles (perhaps smaller roles in bigger movies), they could have shown how truly diverse they really are?

Overall, if you are a fan of Chow Yun-Fat, or action movies in general, then I suggest picking up The Replacement Killers (if, you don't already own it on DVD). Should your collection already contain this title, then I would suggest buying it in HD or Blu-ray if you are adopting the new players and want to own another version of this film when it comes out.

The Replacement Killers was released February 6, 1998.