• Rapid Fire (Twilight Time Releasing) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Twilight Time Releasing
    Released on: August 21st, 2018.
    Director: Dwight H. Little
    Cast: Brandon Lee, Nick Mancuso, Raymond J. Barry, Tzi Ma, Kate Hodge, Tony Longo, Powers Boothe
    Year: 1992
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    Rapid Fire – Movie Review:

    Dwight H. Little, the man who gave us Marked For Death and Halloween IV, directs this bittersweet action picture produced by Fox in 1992, the movie that should have made Brandon Lee, the son of the immortal Bruce Lee, into an A-list action star (although if there were any justice in this world his performance alongside Dolph Lundgren in Showdown In Little Tokyo would have done that. As most already know, Brandon Lee, like his father, died at an early age when, on the set of The Crow in 1993, he was tragically shot with a prop revolver that had a live round in it.

    Set in Los Angeles, the film follows and art student named Jake Lo (Lee) who attends a fundraiser one night only to witness a crime lord from Chicago named Serrano (Nick Mancuso) murder a Chinese drug dealer named Carl Chang (Michael Paul Chan), who just so happens to have been in the employ of a man named Kinman Tau (Tzi Ma). Understandably, Serrano is none too pleased with this and the chase is on. Jake manages to escape, and is then asked to cooperate with the L.A.P.D.’s Lieutenant Mace Ryan (Powers Boothe) and his foxy partner Karla Withers (Kate Hodge). These two cops are out to out Serrano behind bars, and they need Jake’s help to do it.

    With Serrano and Tau working together, Jake realizes his life could be in danger – particularly when he winds up framed for a murder that he didn’t commit!

    Featuring some seriously impressive martial arts set pieces choreographed by Lee himself, Rapid Fire doesn’t reinvent the genre at all but it does provide plenty of action movie mayhem and thrills, chills and spills. Set to a rock-solid score from Christopher Young (who would eventually score Duke Mitchell’s Gone With The Pope!), the movie looks good, is well-paced and has some nice cinematography from Ric Waite (the man who shot Cobra, Red Dawn and loads of other Hollywood A and B pictures). The guys assembled behind the scenes for this one had some legitimate action movie credibility, so it makes sense that they’d be assembled to work on a picture with a relative newcomer like Lee in the lead.

    That said, Lee is very good here. He doesn’t quite have the charisma and intensity that his father did in his best roles, but you can see how he probably would have gotten there had he not died so young. He’s charismatic, handsome, charming even. He movies really well and hits hard, throwing himself into the action scenes and delivering some genuinely impressive work in front of the camera. Supporting work from the always awesome Powers Boothe (if you have any doubt as to his awesomeness stop what you’re doing and go watch Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort) certainly doesn’t hurt the movie at all either. Throw in parts for the lovely Kate Hodge (who would go on to appear in pretty much every TV series made during the nineties), the wonderfully scenery chewing Nick Mancuso (who popped up in both Under Siege films – lots of Seagal ties in this film) and the sinister Tzi Ma as the heavies and the film was clearly cast right.

    Rapid Fire – Blu-ray Review:

    Rapid Fire gets its Blu-ray debut from Twilight Time on a 50GB disc with the feature given just over 28GBs of space. The film is framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. The image is generally nice and clean, showing the occasional small white speck but nothing more in terms of print damage. There’s a natural amount of visible film grain here and no evidence of overzealous noise reduction, nor are there any problems with compression artifacts or edge enhancement. Detail easily surpasses past DVD editions but occasionally can look a little soft here and there. Still, this is a nice picture. Skin tones look nice and natural and color reproduction seems spot on. Blacks are pretty solid and shadow detail, while never reference quality, is generally quite good. There’s a good amount of depth and texture to the image as well. All in all, fans should be pleased.

    The only audio option on the disc is a DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track in the film’s native English. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. No issues here, the audio sounds very good. The foley effects have good punch behind them and there’s some nice channel separation up front during the action scenes. Dialogue stays clean, clear and easy to follow and the track is clean, clear and concise.

    The main extra features on the disc is an exclusive audio commentary with Composer Christopher Young and Film Historian Nick Redman. Young talks about how he came to be involved with the production, gives us some welcome background information on his life and times, how he got into the film score business, his thoughts on the film and quite a bit more. Both of those originated on the DVD release that came out via Fox back in 2002.

    There are two vintage featurettes here, the first simply titled Featurette and running five-minutes and the second entitled Introducing Brandon Lee and running just under three-minutes. Both are obviously quite short but worth checking out for some behind the scenes information and for a bit of background on the film’s late leading man.

    Aside from that, the disc also contains Young’s complete score in isolated form (in DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo), the original theatrical t, trailer, menus and chapter selection. A booklet including some liner notes from essayist Julie Kirgo is also found inside the case where she offers up her thoughts on the film and its charismatic leading man, taken too early we can all agree.

    Rapid Fire – The Final Word:

    Rapid Fire gets a very nice Blu-ray release from Twilight Time. While more extras would have been nice, everything is carried over from the old DVD and some new features have been provided highlighted by the exclusive commentary track. The movie itself is a good one, a very fine action film ripe with tension and suspense highlighted by a seriously good performance from Lee and great supporting work from Boothe.

    Click on the images below for full sized Deep Rising Blu-ray review screen captures!