Hard Kill Review
It would begin to appear that the 'B' in B-Movie now stands for Bruce Willis as he once again ventures into the world of DTV and VOD. Brucey’s latest effort sees him don a trendy scarf for the majority of the film, which is largely is set within a derelict warehouse. Opening with a slow-mo shootout during the title sequence, Matt Eskandari’s Hard Kill shows promise early on, but does it provide the punch?
When the property of Chapter House - a tech giant led by Bruce Willis’ Donovan Chalmers - is stolen by a formidable terrorist known as The Pardoner (Sergio Rizzuto), a team of mercenaries are hired to protect its CEO (Willis). Mercs like no other, their team leader – Derek Miller (Jesse Metcalfe) – suffers from PTSD flashbacks of an encounter with The Pardoner. Miller has a personal score to settle, but The Pardoner holds the ace – not only does he poses the stolen software, but he has Chalmers’ daughter, Eva (Lala Kent), in his custody too.
As expected, Hard Kill plays out somewhat routinely, but there are nuances of familiarity too, making it feel like a film you’ve seen before. In the world of DTV action, however, most probably do look the same. But this is no negative feat nor a yawn fest. However, if you don’t like the action genre traits and concepts used within Hard Kill, then this could very well be a difficult mission when watching.
If anything, there is a slight failure in logic, believability and realism. Of course, when it comes to action, numerous events require the suspension of disbelief for you to switch off your brain. A sore thumb of an issue with this in Hard Kill is that the team of mercs hired by billionaire Chalmers appear inadequate for the brief. In comparison to the mercs used in the likes of Lethal Weapon, the fourth Rambo and Expendables franchises, what we see here are a little too redneck and underqualified. They also lack in application – when on their showpiece occasion with Chalmers, they are heavily under-equipped to fight off any serious antagonists, especially The Pardoner.
To great surprise, though, Bruce Willis actually has more prominence than anticipated and, if anything, his role is somewhat of a tease. Chalmers is an ice cool, stretch-vehicle-riding billionaire CEO - with a military background. From the outlook he doesn’t resemble a tough guy, hard man, fighter, warrior etc. – but did Bruce ever? And not forgetting he’s also 65. Being placed in a tiny room within a desolate warehouse when it comes under attack does suggest Chalmers to be the weak link amongst the action, but with a strong military background referenced early on, and being given a pistol for last stop protection, we ask ourselves: has Bruce still got it? Can he still emerge victorious in a shootout like John McClane?
Ultimately, Hard Kill is far from a hard pass, though it could be a hard watch if you’re not checking this out to see Bruce or former WWE wrestler Natalie Eva Marie – who, amongst the many generic muscular bearded men, is the standout performer.
Hard Kill is available now on digital download.
Hard Kill (2020)
Dir: Matt Eskandari | Cast: Bruce Willis, Jesse Metcalfe, Lala Kent, Natalie Eva Marie | Writers: Chris LaMont (screenplay by), Clayton Haugen (story by), Joe Russo (screenplay by), Nikolai From (story by)