Occasionally during this Ronny Yu series I will go on tangents about films that are not directed by Ronny Yu, but are related to the topic at hand. I’ve been meaning to revisit my maybe-favorite-Brandon-Lee movie RAPID FIRE for years, and thought it would fit in well here. To be honest I forgot that I already reviewed it in 2009, but that’s okay, this is a better review. It was worth a reboot.
Lee followed his movie debut in LEGACY OF RAGE with LASER MISSION (1989) and SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (1991), but it was the Yu film that attracted the atttention of producer Robert Lawrence (A KISS BEFORE DYING) and made him want to find a vehicle to turn Lee into a huge American action star.
As I referenced in the LEGACY OF RAGE review, the Metrograph theater did an interview with Ronny Yu where he said of Lee, “He was 19 when I met him. He was wearing a leather jacket, leather boots, riding a bike, he was very rebellious,” and “He said, ‘I hate martial arts. I hate it. And don’t talk, don’t even mention Bruce Lee to me!’”
Years later in RAPID FIRE (1992), Lee’s character Jake Lo is introduced wearing a leather jacket, leather boots, riding a bike, looking very rebellious. An art major at a college in L.A., he pulls up to campus during a demonstration for democracy in China. Seeing the protest signs causes him to flash back to the historic events at Tiananmen Square, where he saw his dad (Michael Chong, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.) killed by soldiers. According to RAPID FIRE’s entry in the AFI Catalog, “Lee was involved in the development of the story, and a key element that resonated with the actor was his character’s struggle to deal with his father’s death, which mirrored Lee’s personal life.” (read the rest of this shit…)