BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Oliver Reed. George Kennedy. Jose Ferre. And action movie regular Brian Thompson (otherwise known as the alien bounty hunter in The X-Files). What movie could possibly bring them together? And for what reason? Other than probably being unemployed at the time, they all star in director Nico Mastorakis’ exploitation masterpiece, Hired to Kill.
Wait. You haven’t heard of this cult flick? Really? It’s a scenery chewing romp for sure, but – if you dig Tarantino’s Death Proof – you really need to check this one out.
Released in 1990, this actioneer – complete with an all-girl, bikini-wearing squad of mercenaries – is a little-known and often celebrated slice of exploitative eye candy. It is balls-to-the-walls ridiculous and amazing and accomplishes so much B-movie plundering with its cast of nubile young women as killers that it remains engaging to the final moment.
Most critics condemned it upon its release. And, to be fair, for good reason. Thompson, in the role of a leading man as the film’s cynical anti-hero Frank Turner (and leader of this female death squad), is pretty laughable. He’s on the same level as Casper Van Dien when it comes to acting ability. But, as a B-movie, it is with a complete understanding of my own bad conscience that I highly recommend this flick. Hired to Kill, with its premise of Thompson posing as a gay fashion designer, is completely batty and unbelievable and that makes it hysterically silly.
Yet, it works. You’ll be in stitches and – due to Oliver Reed’s fantastic moustache – in awe. And, considering Reed was more than likely largely inebriated through the entire shoot, one can’t help but laugh a lot at his characterization. Upending much of the movie, Reed was a damn near liability but listening to the cast and crew recall his antics (in the supplemental material) is a hoot and a half. It’s obvious that Reed gave no more than two fucks for the material and it shows…hilariously.
The hair-poofed babes in the movie – bending over far too many times in their thinner-than-thin bathing suits and firing their machine guns in one montage after another – might be little more than in-fighting bimbos and the action as rote as possible, but somehow the movie lives up to its premise and delivers a VERY progressive film. Not only do you have women with machine guns running this way and that way, you also have Reed planting a very long smooch on Thompson’s lips. Yeah, years before it became acceptable on network television.
That’s Mastorakis for you. He definitely pushes the envelope and, even if this is paper-thin material, delivers a memorable product that – thanks to the restoration efforts of Arrow Video – will certainly not be forgotten by the cinematic freaks out there …. like myself.
We live for this shit.
MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime: 91 mins
Director: Nico Mastorakis, Peter Rader
Writer: Fred Perry
Cast: Brian Thompson, Oliver Reed, George Kennedy
Genre: Action | Thriller
Tagline: No man on earth could get him out of prison alive. Seven women did.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor: No theatrical release
Release Date: February 6, 1992 (video premiere)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: May 17, 2016
Synopsis: A fashion photographer and seven models travel to a South American island fortress, ostensibly to do a fashion shoot. In reality, the photographer is a mercenary and their job is to free an imprisoned rebel leader.
Available on Blu-ray - May 17, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: LPCM 2.0; English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback
Presented in a AVC encoded 1080p transfer in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 by Arrow Video, the 4K restoration of Hired to Kill (completed by Deluxe Restoration, London) is the strongest-looking the film will ever be. The scan was approved by director Nico Mastorakis and does not disappoint. It shines with a nice pop to some of the colors. Edges are strong and flesh tones accurate. Black levels are deep and grain levels are of a good quality. The original 2.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-Ray) is uncompressed and fires with each and every squeezed trigger.
- Featuring Michael Felsher as he guides the film's editor Barry Zetlin through the film, the commentary is a good track with some information on the filming of the movie.
Arrow Video continues to do customers proud by giving them their money’s worth. Included in the release of Hired to Kill is a brand new interview with the film’s director on the making of the movie and working with OIiver Reed (who went out of his way to sabotage the movie), a brand new interview with Brian Thompson, the original trailer, a stills gallery, the original screenplay, reversible sleeve art, and a fully-illustrated booklet with an essay by film critic James Oliver.
- Hired to Direct (27 min)
- Undercover Mercenary (18 min))
- Theatrical Trailer (3 min)
- Stills Gallery (7 min)