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The Independent Critic

STARRING
George Kennedy, Brian Thompson, Oliver Reed
DIRECTED BY
Nico Mastorakis, Peter Rader
SCREENPLAY
Fred Perry, Kirk Ellis, Nico Mastorakis
MPAA RATING
Rated R
RUNNING TIME
91 Mins. plus extras
DISTRIBUTED BY
Arrow Video (Blu-ray)
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 "Hired to Kill" Lands Blu-ray Release with Arrow Video 
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If you remember action cinema from the early 90's, then you likely remember films like Hired to Kill even if you don't exactly remember the film itself. Co-directed by Nico Mastorakis and Peter Rader, the film stars Brian Thompson (Cobra) as Frank Ryan, a mercenary sent to track down a rebel leader in hostile territory. Posing as a fashion designer, Ryan won't be going alone as he'll be joined by seven beautiful, but deadly, female fighters. The film also stars George Kennedy (The Naked Gun series, The Delta Force) and Oliver Reed (Gladiator) in what amounts to being pretty much a classic 90's action experience with guns, girls and budget-busting explosions.

If you approach Hired to Kill as the B-movie that it basically is, you may find yourself having fun with its often badly acted, slightly homophobic and awfully written dialogue. Thompson, who was married to Mastoraki's daughter when this film was made, built a career in this type of film after his relatively brief appearance in James Cameron's The Terminator. Unfortunately, he's just never quite been leading man material and it shows quite a bit here. Of course, if we're being honest even the more experienced actors don't particularly fare well here. For example, Oliver Reed, a Hollywood legend, as a corrupt dictator whose hilariously elaborate moustache may be the most unforgettable part of the film. Reed, who was reportedly rather intoxicated every day of the film's shoot, gives a performance that is far from intoxicating. George Kennedy, as a shadowy businessman who hires Ryan for the job, does give his usual dependable performance here. Jose Ferrer is also solid as the rebel leader needing rescued.

As seems to always be the case with Arrow's packages, this 2-disc director approved special education Blu-ray & DVD combo is filled with some pretty awesome bonus materials including the usual fully-illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver, a stills gallery, the original screenplay, original theatrical trailer, a brand new interview with Mastorakis, a brand new interview with Thompson, audio commentary with the film's editor (Barry Zetlin), and other extras that far transcend what we usually find with such films.

For more information on the film, visit the Arrow website linked to in the credits.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic  

    The Official Rating Guideline
    • A+ to A: 4 Stars                
    • A- to B+: 3.5 Stars            
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    • B- to C+: 2.5 Stars           
    • C: 2 Stars
    • C- to D+: 1.5 Stars
    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
    • F: Zero Stars

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