Hard Kill feels like the result of plugging in every action movie cliche into a program and letting an algorithm come up with the script and direct.
It’s devoid of any excitement, interesting fight scenes and basically comes off flat-lined from the start.
A mercenary team of ex-soldiers, led by Miller (Jesse Metcalfe), gets a too good to be true fat payday to escort wealthy tech CEO Donovan Chalmers (Bruce Willis) in scoping out a new site.
It’s all a ruse as they’re actually intended as security to help take down a terrorist, The Pardoner (Sergio Rizzuto), from utilizing a vaguely described device that could “wipe out everything.” The Pardoner has made it personal by kidnapping Chalmers’ brilliant daughter (Lala Kent).
Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives) and former WWE Diva Natalia Eva Marie head up the ex-soldier squad brought in by Chalmers’ right hand, Fox (Texas Battle, who’s actual name sounds like an action hero).
Willis is in the “how much is this paying?” phase of his career. Even at this mail it in stage, Willis is still the most credible and believable performer of the cast. The majority of the cast provides lousy/uninspired line delivery with little passion.
Poor Metcalfe tries his best to drag Hard Kill beyond B-level status. He handles the physical aspects confidentially enough. Unlike Willis, who’s able to make lousy dialogue sound passable, Metcalfe cant sell the mayhem as if he’s aware how bad the script sounds.
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Marie couldn’t convincingly act in the WWE environment and never seems comfortable in any aspect of her role.
Screenwriters Chris LaMont and Joe Russo (not to be confused with the Avengers co-director) stick to action movie bingo in crafting the script. The characters are thinly developed and the plot is basically the defend the castle, protect the king variety.
Maybe the film could have some life with a charismatic villain, but Rizzuto lacks the energy or that innate sense of menace to truly command the screen.
Exactly nothing feels, sounds or looks original in this action film done on the cheap.
Hard Kill is a warehouse action movie as 90% of the film takes place in a wide open, junky space. It’s ideal for hide and go seek, but becomes a boring set piece for an action movie.
Director Matt Eskandari fails to bring anything unique to this setting and the action just feels like waves of The Pardoner’s army advancing to the other side of a room to get Miller’s crew.
Eskandari has worked with Willis recently on Survive the Night and Trauma Center so there’s a certain comfort level with star and director. That makes it a little surprising that Metcalfe has the majority of the screen time while Willis occasionally pops in for a quick line or two.
Hard Kill should be a slam dunk, check your brain at the door shoot out action extravaganza. Instead it’s almost too much work required to stay invested in this snoozy, predictable slog.
Rating: 3 out of 10
Photo Credit: Vertical Entertainment