DVD Review – Hired To Kill

What can I say about Nico Mastorakis ? Well, in my little world of film appreciation, I know him mostly as the director of notorious “video nasty” Island Of Death, and this neat little slice of action from 1990…Hired To Kill

The cast is certainly interesting. Leader of the pack is Brian Thompson, who I always thought was particularly good as The Night Slasher in Stallone’s Cobra, as well as playing other thoroughly unsavoury characters in Van Damme’s AWOL, andRage And Honour alongside Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton.

In Hired To Kill, we instantly know he’s not a fella to be messed around with. He plays mercenary Frank Ryan who, mere seconds after the opening titles, causes a ringing telephone to explode with a single shot from his gun, rather than be bothered to take the call. He’s that kind of no-nonsense guy. Next we see him getting his orders for a rescue mission from Mr Thomas (George Kennedy, who looks as if he’s reading his lines from an off-screen cue card about 90% of the time) which involves him training a group of women in the ways of combat so they can pose as fashion models whilst he pretends to be a top fashion designer, and the whole lot of them can be dropped into the fictional country of “Cypra” (a place where “taking a dump is political”, apparently) where they must gain the confidence of evil bad guy Michael Bartos (Oliver Reed, in a splendid performance complete with over-size moustache and constant beetroot red complexion) while simultaneously planning to rendezvous with some rebels in order to snatch back Rallis, a revolutionary played by Jose Ferrer (who shows up about 15 minutes before the end of the film and looks to be confused as to exactly what the hell he’s doing there) from a heavily guarded fortress.

This film is several shades of big dumb fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s packed with great dialogue (Exhibit A : “Come to my room and I’ll put out my cigarette on your nipples”) and despite there not being a massive amount of action until the last reel, it moves along at such a pace and with so much enthusiasm from all involved in its creation that you don’t actually notice. Action scenes go from being merely competent to occasionally badly edited together, and there are one or two genuinely nice shots – such as the fleeting few seconds of steadicam following the action through the fortress corridors during the big finale. Most of the cast put in good performances and look as if they’re having a great time, and if nothing else, it’s worth a viewing just to see Oliver Reed say the word “bastards” in a helicopter.
Highly recommended, especially for anyone who remembers trawling through the video shop shelves back in the early 1990s in search of an evening’s worth of low-budget action and stuff getting blown up.
Arrow deliver the goods once again with a crisp looking transfer and a disc packed out with special features. There’s an audio commentary with film editors Michael Felcher and Barry Zetlin. 2 interviews….”Hired To Direct” – an entertaining chat with director Nico Mastorakis on the making of Hired To Kill, and “Undercover Mercenary” – a brand new interview with star Brian Thompson filmed in L.A in January 2016. Rounding out the special features is the Trailer and a Stills Gallery too.

★★★★

Darren Lockwood

Buy Here

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s