When the son of a powerful underworld boss, Mr. Wei, is killed in a police raid he swears vengeance. John Lee is the hit-man assigned with the task to carry out the hit, but despite a successful career as a contract killer he finds himself unable to pull the trigger. Even more upset, Wei sends in a duo of ruthless assassins, the replacement killers of the title, to kill both John and carry out his assignment. First time Director Fuqua will go on to make better Movies, much better. Chow-Yun Fat has made Movies, with John Woo, that are Classics. But here is a frustrating attempt to bring Chow to American Audiences and it fails on almost every level.
Lee has Zedlov’s son in the sights of his rifle when he decides that he cannot kill a child, so he asks his friend for the name of somebody not associated with Wei who can create a passport for him. No sooner has John Lee gone to visit Meg Coburn (Mira Sorvina of “Mighty Aphrodite”) who has an office in the Olive Building than Mr. Wei’s henchmen are on to him. A brief but lethal shoot-out ensues with our hero making a clean getaway, but the police nab our heroine. Four of Wei’s gunmen die in the shooting. Detective Zedkov doesn’t have enough to arrest Meg so he lets her hit the street again in the hope that she will take him to what he wants. John Lee visits Meg again and they go to the car wash business that Eddie owns where they find not only his dead body but also Michaek Kogan (Jürgen Prochnow of “Beverly Hills Cop 2”) and more gunmen. Zedkov and the cops show up after the main shoot-out but our hero and heroine manage to escape. “Don confuse luck with skill,” Wei reprimands Kogan after the assassin eludes the villains at the car wash. Wei has Kogan hire the eponymous murderers. Til Schweiger plays Ryker, and Danny Trejo is cast as Collins. They arrive by airliner and try to ice Zedkov at a movie theater when he has his son with him. Lee and Meg show up to thwart their plans. Ryker dies, but Collins survives the fracas. At this point, John Lee decides to remove Wei as his primary source of trouble. Along the way, Meg helps him obtain is forged documents and firearms. They make a good team when they go into action gunning for the bad guys.
This is not to say it wasn’t fun. Chow Yun-Fat and Mira Sorvino are both excellent and, given the nature of the movie, believable. But people standing around in movie theatres and game arcades, etc., ratcheting off round after round … give me a break. Chow refers to the two killers as assassins, but assassins should be a little stealthy. These guys just walk in and start shooting. Chow and Sorvino run down the street carrying their guns up and out in plain sight and walk down the aisles of the movie theatre that way and NOBODY NOTICES! Right. Why Miss Sorvino could have ever agreed to make this film is beyond me. I have always the utmost respect for Miss Sorvino, partly because she is a beautiful girl, partly because she has always comeacross as a great actress (Mighty Aphrodite), and partly because her father (Paul Sorvino) is also a phenominal actor. I don’t see Miss Sorvino’s line of thought here. Mr. Chow Yun Fat may be a very good actor. He was unintelligable in this film, and had only one facial expression, that of extreme consternation and pain, much like the face I had on while watching this movie.
What amazes me most about this film, besides the fact the two heroes are fired upon at least 500 times and get hit once, where every shot they make hits their targets with dead on accuracy, is that this is another movie where a guy treats a women with total disrespect, kidnaps her and does nothing to make him like her, she knows him for about two days and “doesn’t want him to go” for some reason. It’s like a reality show where the contestants have known each other for two days and one person always says “I love you guys.” Except there’s no “reality” in this show. OK, are you tired of me bashing this film? Because I know I’m tired of seeing it, and typing about it. Avoid.