Replacement Suspects, The
Hong Kong 2001
Directed by Marco Mak.

Simon Loui pens another genre thriller, this time about three thieves who accidentally kill a policeman while escaping and retreat into a bar, taking hostages. But someone in the bar is another wanted criminal. Or actually, Loui didn't write it -- this is a shockingly blatant rip-off of the American film ALBINO ALLIGATOR. Which, to bring things full circle, was inspired by RESOVOIR DOGS, which pretty much ripped off the Hong Kong film CITY ON FIRE. Unfortunately here, the similarity is so exact as to pretty much spoil the film. Jacob Cheung leads the gang, with Simon Loui as his brother, badly injured on the way in, and Roy Cheung as his buddy, who has spent some time in jail and starts to lose it imagining he has to go back. At one point he plays a game of JENGA with the hostages to see who he will kill next. All of the leads give strong performances (it probably helped to be able to study how Gary Sinise would play your character before you do), with the exception of Michael Wong, who is the police officer in charge of taking them down, yet even he has one good moment in the film, when he is stopped by a reporter for an interview early on.

Rating: Marginally Recommended (Marginally Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on May 14, 2004.

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