HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Friday, October 8, 2010

THE KILLING MACHINE -- DVD review by porfle

The hitman becomes the hunted in director-star Dolph Lundgren's THE KILLING MACHINE (2010), an action flick that delivers the goods even if it doesn't always look all that great doing it.

Dolph plays Eddie Genn, a former KGB agent (codename "Icarus") who escaped to America along with his partner Vadim (Bo Svenson) and became a highly-skilled contract killer for the Russian mob.  In TRUE LIES fashion, he lives a double life as a mild-mannered real estate salesman with an ex-wife, Joey (Stefanie Von Pfetten), and a young daughter, Taylor (Katelyn Mager), who are totally unaware of his extracurricular activities. 

Suddenly, people start trying to kill Eddie left and right and he has to find out why before both he and his family get whacked.  Forced to reveal his true identity to Joey, he seeks refuge for her and their daughter but no longer knows who he can trust.  Killing his way up the food chain, he tracks down who's behind his betrayal and sets out to even the score or die trying.

After a really cool main titles sequence, THE KILLING MACHINE features a number of exciting, bullet-riddled action setpieces beginning with a hit in an office building in Hong Kong and continuing with several harrowing gun battles between Eddie and his deadly assailants.  Dolph, as usual, is a rock-solid action hero whose big, brawny frame and rugged good looks lend him considerable presence, along with the fact that he can actually act.  He handles most of his character's physical requirements himself and is never less than convincing.

As a director, he has his ups and downs.  I was impressed with his work at the helm of 2007's MISSIONARY MAN, but here he allows the "shaky-cam" thing and other gimmicks to get way out of control--much of the action looks as though it were filmed during an earthquake and edited by speed freaks.  It's tiresome to watch, and frustrating because Dolph's set-ups are good and he doesn't need all that distracting camera movement which, stylistically, sometimes resembles the work of a zero-budget filmmaker with a camcorder.  Also detracting from the overall effect is the fact that composer James Jandrisch's fairly good score is so non-stop that it eventually begins to sound like aural wallpaper.

Still, there's much here to get an action fan's juices flowing.  Dolph keeps the pace at a fast clip from one shootout to the next, pausing only for some touchy-feely scenes with his family.  As ex-wife Joey, Stefanie von Pfetten gives a stand-out performance.  Samantha Ferris is an intriguing presence as crime boss Kerr, a tough broad (the role was written for a man) who offers to help Eddie out although we're never quite sure if we can trust her.  And finally, any movie that says "And Bo Svenson" in the opening credits already has a lot going for it.  Needless to say, he's a lot of fun to watch.

The DVD from Anchor Bay is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.  Subtitles are in English and Spanish.  Extras consist of an engaging 22-minute "making of" documentary and a trailer.

THE KILLING MACHINE isn't top-of-the-line action cinema but in DTV terms it's pretty good stuff.  It would be even better if Dolph Lundgren stopped relying on slapdash camerawork to save him the effort of concentrating on a well-thought-out visual style, which I think he's capable of.  But don't let that stop you from checking out this fun, frenetic shoot-em-up.

Buy it at

1 comment:

Alex Black said...

For more on the stunning and talented, Stefanie von Pfetten please visit her on twitter and on facebook.


On Twitter:

On facebook:
- on set photos, behind the scenes pics, event photos, DVD box art, and more!

Blog: (under construction)