December 4th, 2011


KILL LINE (1991) **

Before the feature can begin, we get one trailer for the thriller Cold Heaven directed by Nicolas Roeg and starring Theresa Russell and Mark Harmon.

Bobby Kim is this ex-con fresh from prison who learns his brother and his family have been killed. He goes to Angel Town to get revenge and he winds up getting arrested by the corrupt sheriff. Before long, Kim goes toe to toe with the sheriff before kicking the booty of his family’s murderers.

Kim kinda looks like Charles Bronson and seems like he could be a good action hero… until he opens his mouth. But he does know how to kick ass though (according to the video box, Kim’s a Tae Kwon Do expert), so I guess he’s alright. He’s not bad, but at least he fares much better than the rest of the no name cast.

While Kill Line starts off OK enough, the flick loses its way once it stops with the revenge plot and focuses more on Kim’s personal war with the sheriff. This “B” plot isn’t nearly as much fun, but at least it connects back to the “A” plot eventually; although you have to wait a long time. It also doesn’t help that the sheriff’s final comeuppance leaves a lot to be desired.

Kill Line is mostly dull, but it does have at least one choice moment. During a car chase, Kim bumps the sheriff’s car off the road and it goes barreling towards a car dealership. We then see a shot from inside the dealership looking out the window. Naturally, you’re thinking the sheriff’s car is going through the window. Nope, it winds up smashing into the brick façade. That’s pretty funny. Then the sheriff walks into the building and steals a car from the showroom and drives it through the window. Awesome.

Kill Line really needed more moments like this one to make it worthwhile. Some of the action is badly staged. Like when a car goes flying into a lake. The camera actually MISSES the money shot of the car going into the water and the cameraman has to scramble to get a shot of it sinking. Since they only had one take, they pretty much blew it. And that kinda sums up the movie. Close… but no cigar.

HIRED TO KILL (1992) ***

Video Vacuum favorite Brian Thompson stars in what can only be described as a rip-off of The Dirty Dozen. Except instead of twelve men, we’ve got seven women. If this isn’t a recipe for awesome; I don’t know what is.

Thompson if you can’t already guess plays the Lee Marvin role. George Kennedy shows up long enough to give Thompson an Enter the Dragon style slideshow that sets up the plot. He wants Thompson to rescue Jose Ferrer and overthrow dictator Oliver Reed. In order to sneak into the country, Thompson has to pose as a gay fashion designer (!) and his all-female assault team pretends to be his models. Of course, these gals aren’t exactly Victoria’s Secret caliber dames, so not only does Thompson have to train them in the art of combat; he has to teach them to walk the runway too.

And you know what that means. That means montage. And it’s one of the finest ever filmed. Dispersed in between the scenes of girls crawling through the mud and shooting guns are shots of them strutting down the catwalk! Incredible. On top of that, we’ve got lots of cover girl model fashion shoot montages too. Seriously, if you love montages, you’re pretty much guaranteed to love Hired to Kill.

And if you’re a Thompson fan like me, you’re gonna dig this flick too. He gets a lot of chauvinistic politically incorrect dialogue where he insults the gals as well. That is to say, he’s awesome in this movie. Thompson also gets a great intro scene where he’s asleep on his houseboat (all action heroes should live on a houseboat by the way). Then the phone rings and Thompson shoots the phone. Classic. Then there’s the scene where Thompson has to prove his cover by kissing Oliver Reed full on the lips. It’s hilarious.

In short, movies like Hired to Kill are why this column was invented.

BUT… I don’t want you to think this is the second coming of Never Too Young to Die or anything. The second act particularly drags and the finale is nowhere near as clever as the set-up. Plus, the gals aren’t all that hot and they don’t get naked very often (although the best looking one gets two brief topless scenes).

Then again, I’m a sucker for any movie in which a character says, “Synchronize watches!”

A random lesbian guard gets the best line of the movie when she says, “Tonight I’ll come to your room and put out my cigarettes on your nipples!”

Next time on It Came from the Thrift Store, we’ll go back to a one movie a week post with the Christina Applegate flick, Vibrations.