Brandon Lee

Rapid Fire (1992, Dwight H. Little)

Even with his silly, slicked back eighties cop hair, Raymond J. Barry is easily the best actor in Rapid Fire. His first appearance is delightful, as it washes away some of the film’s already very bad taste.

Rapid Fire is an action movie without any good action. Director Little’s terrible with actors and composition, but he also has a lousy crew. Ric Waite’s photography, while mildly competent, looks like he’s shooting the picture through bathwater. Gib Jaffe’s editing loses characters and he can’t figure out how to edit star Brandon Lee’s fight scenes. It’s okay, I guess, since Little can’t figure out how to shoot them. If the draw of Rapid Fire is supposed to be Lee’s martial arts abilities, actually showing them as something other than editing tricks would be helpful.

Besides Barry, only Tzi Ma makes any good acting impression… but it might be because Ma starts out opposite Nick Mancuso. Either Little told Mancuso to do a Sonny Corleone impression or Mancuso came up with it himself. Every moment Mancuso is on screen, whether playing with his hair or staring off into space, sears the reasoning parts of the brain. It’s laughably bad.

As for Lee? He’s not very good. It’s partially Little’s direction–and a lot of it is Alan B. McElroy’s terrible script–but he’s still not good.

Speaking of McElroy, he works numerous Chinese epithet to show Rapid Fire is socially conscious.

It’s an awful movie.

And Christopher Young’s smooth jazz score doesn’t help.



Directed by Dwight H. Little; screenplay by Alan B. McElroy, based on a story by Cindy Cirile and McElroy; director of photography, Ric Waite; edited by Gib Jaffe; music by Christopher Young; production designer, Ron Foreman; produced by Robert Lawrence; released by 20th Century Fox.

Starring Brandon Lee (Jake Lo), Powers Boothe (Mace Ryan), Nick Mancuso (Antonio Serrano), Raymond J. Barry (Agent Frank Stewart), Kate Hodge (Karla Withers), Tzi Ma (Kinman Tau), Tony Longo (Brunner), Michael Paul Chan (Carl Chang), Dustin Nguyen (Paul Yang), Brigitta Stenberg (Rosalyn), Basil Wallace (Agent Wesley) and Al Leong (Minh).

The Crow (1994, Alex Proyas)

Has it been long enough since the firearms safety accident on The Crow set to point out Brandon Lee was a really bad actor and his performance in The Crow is laughably awful?

Actually, I don’t care; he’s lousy and the movie’s dumb.

There are good things about The Crow, which is a little surprising, considering the script is awful and Proyas’s seems more concerned with selling the soundtrack album than actually making a film. The good things are Michael Wincott, Ernie Hudson and Jon Polito. All three manage to get out their atrocious dialogue and make it sound good. Especially Wincott. He almost makes his character believable.

But the bad things… Where to even start? Rochelle Davis, the narrator of the film, gives an even worse performance than Lee. The dialogue in David J. Schow and John Shirley’s script is incredibly silly and it’s hard to believe it ever sounding reasonable. But Davis’s performance doesn’t do the (bad) script justice.

Laurence Mason’s bad too, so are Bai Ling and Anna Levine. Especially Ling. David Patrick Kelly and Michael Massee are both reasonably okay. Not good, but okay; okay goes far in The Crow. There’s not a lot okay about it.

On the technical side, Graeme Revell’s score is lousy. It’s probably Proyas’s fault. Revell’s score mostly just provides transitions between Proyas’s mini-music videos for the soundtrack songs. Dariusz Wolski’s photography seems inept, but it could just be the incompetent CG effects.

The Crow is a stupefyingly bad film.



Directed by Alex Proyas; screenplay by David J. Schow and John Shirley, based on the comic book by James O’Barr; director of photography, Dariusz Wolski; edited by Dov Hoenig and M. Scott Smith; music by Graeme Revell; production designer, Alex McDowell; produced by Jeff Most and Edward R. Pressman; released by Dimension Films.

Starring Brandon Lee (Eric Draven), Rochelle Davis (Sarah), Ernie Hudson (Sergeant Albrecht), Michael Wincott (Top Dollar), Bai Ling (Myca), Sofia Shinas (Shelly Webster), Anna Levine (Darla), David Patrick Kelly (T-Bird), Angel David (Skank), Laurence Mason (Tin Tin), Michael Massee (Funboy), Tony Todd (Grange) and Jon Polito (Gideon).

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