The Corruptor, review by Harry Knowles
I really didnít care for THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS much at all. In fact, for me, I think it sucked pretty darn hard, and that depressed me.
You see, one of the first DVDs I got was the HARD BOILED Criterion disc. It just kicks ass all over the place. And I need to pick up THE KILLER next time I have some cash, but Iíll never pick up THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS.
I donít like it. I think the major problem with the movie is that the director Fuqua, seemed to be in awe of Chow Yun Fat... Now, Iím in friggin awe of the man, and you are too most likely. Heís a damn AWEsome dude. But it was... overdone to the extreme. Each shot a loving tribute to his movements. It seemed he wanted every frame to last 3 times the frame length of the normal frame. It stifled the film.
THE CORRUPTER is a different story. It isnít anywhere near as good as HARD BOILED or THE KILLER or A BETTER TOMORROW (1 or 2) buuuuuuuuut.... Itís pretty kick ass.
His English is so good itís not even funny. He doesnít move in slow motion for the entire film, he isnít invulnerable... heís pretty damn tragic and is filled with pathos. The movie screams out that this is a far far faaaaaar better direction for Chow to move into in his American career.
Howís the action? heh heh heh.... Ok, you know those RONIN car chases? Imagine if in addition you threw in a few human bodies here and there, if heavy duty automatic weapons fire through crowded sidewalks, etc.... were thrown in for good measure. I guarantee there is one scene of car/human body damage that will cause you to squirm and start giggling like the sadistic twisted screwup we all are!
Do you like brains in your action films? Do you like point blank head splooges? I think for a non-zombie film, this may have the most of these Iíve seen, thatís if it can get past the evil EVIL MPAA with it. Keep your fingers crossed!
Oh yeah... The movie also has Dirk Diggler in it as Chowís protege, and heís pretty decent... mind you heís a complete screw up and I wanted him dead from the first second he appears on screen. But hey... thatís just my natural feelings for Mr ĎThe Right Stuffí.
The film is cool, not in that Iím gonna watch it 2000 times this year sorta way, but in that ĎHey that was kinda coolí way you say on the way to your car. But itís also one of those films that you spend 3 or 4 hours talking about how youíd have done this or that. How ya wish this person had died here and that one would have lived... You know, itís a film to see with your buds, enjoy like hell, but then as you digest it... you begin picking on it, and someone in the group... maybe you, will start talking about ďhow fucking cool it was when Ďblankí fucking blew that son/daughter/personís brains out the side of the frame!!!Ē
Itís the sort of film where you marvel at the amount of violence they were able to squeeze in. And there is a bit more to the movie than that, but it doesnít have that fantastic lyrical edge that John Woo brings to a film like this.
The bird cages donít explode the same way, the coats donít blow in the breeze that only hits our star. After you see PAYBACK, youíll wish that Chow Yun Fat would team up with Brian Helgeland for a flick or two. The film just cries for a better script, the dialogue isnít quite as snappy as the action, the plot isnít as effortless as the gunplay... but for a ĎBí action film... I can forgive that. This will entertain the hell out of an audience, but it could have been even better.
The director has had his share of good and bad films. From AFTER DARK MY SWEET (an incredibly good film that seems to have passed into obscurity) and GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (talk about some fantastic dialogue and ensemble acting) to FEAR (god I hated that movie) and THE CHAMBER (I hate Robin). James Foleyís latest film here, fits somewhere in between, though... itís probably his most Ďgeekí accessible flick. Itís pretty darn cool and Iíll see it again as soon as it hits.
I really wish there had been a better bunch of ensemble actors to support Chow and Dirk Diggler, because... well it needed it. After you got past them, the villians werenít all that great, the supporting good guys werenít too good... and youíre left with mainly a lot of brains dripping from walls.
This is definately a step up from THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS, but we are still waiting for the Ďgreatí American Chow Yun Fat film, and I think weíll have to wait till John Woo can direct it. Which canít come soon enough in my opinion.