You can eat all the baguettes you want at the France Pavilion in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT — it’s still Orlando, not Paris, you’re in. Same thing goes for The Replacement Killers (TriStar), a “Hong Kong-style” action thriller from Pittsburgh-born music-video director Antoine Fuqua (“Gangsta’s Paradise”) that gets some of the flashy, kinetic Hong Kong style but not much of its substance.
What authenticity the movie does retain comes from the charismatic Asian star Chow Yun-Fat, who makes his U.S. debut, with freshly learned English, as a Chinese assassin stuck in America with a contract he doesn’t want to fulfill. Trying to slip out of the country, he calls on a document forger played by Mira Sorvino, who shows she’s tough by lowering her voice two octaves from her Mighty Aphrodite squeak and fingering a gun with mendhi-adorned hands while wearing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof-type lingerie as a dress. Between cycles of gunfights and glowering, Yun-Fat displays some of the dignity and suave good looks that account for his star status (without much chance to show his wit). The Replacement Killers may suffer from a lack of chemistry between the leads and an American-style unsubtle plot, but at least the neon lights pulse atmospherically, in an EPCOT-does-Hong Kong cinema kind of way. C
The Replacement Killers STARRING Chow Yun-Fat Mira Sorvino RATED R 88 MINUTES