The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Killing Man aka The Killing Machine (1995)

Photobucket

This is one that's been in my Netflix queue for a while, and when I saw we hadn't done any Jeff Wincott recently, I decided to bump it up and have a go. I'd seen trailers for it in a few other DTV actioners, and it looked good. As an aside, Lee over at Straight-to-DVD-Heaven reviewed this as well, and his post has a great Andrew Ridgely mention.

The Killing Man has Wincott as a dude who wakes up in a hospital with bandages on his face. Turns out, he was a contract killer in his former life, set up by his ex-employers, and almost killed in a fire. Now he's in the hands of Michael Ironside, who is turning him into a killing machine for the US government. Might be a bad gig, but one could do a lot worse for a new look than Jeff Wincott's mug, so our hero bumps a few people off, then finds out he's bumping off people who are unearthing proof that AIDS was invented by the US government. Heavy stuff man, but a guy like Wincott was made for heavy stuff.

Photobucket

I liked this one. Maybe not the best Wincott actioner, but I kind of dug what they were going for. It was a combination action/Film Noir/Johnny Get Your Gun type deal that was much darker than the average DTV action flick; plus, there was a message about AIDS awareness, though it was only small, it was still a big deal being that this was 1995. I will admit, I prefer my action films with more of a solid identity and a lot more ass kicking, but ultimately, this worked.

Wincott's back baby, and even if aspects of this film weren't quite there, he always was. The voice-overs, the mean mugging and cigarette smoking, and of course, the ass kicking. There's one great scene early on where Ironside wants to make sure he'll kick ass when told to, and he brings in this dude with dreads who killed an elderly couple as he held up their convenience store. Wincott says no at first, but then the guy says something to the affect of "I'll kill you", and Wincott's like "you'll kill me?" Exactly, you know what happens next. One issue I did have, and that scene with the dreads guy can speak to that, is Wincott takes more hits in this one than in some of his better ones. I don't know, some Rastafarian punk criminal shouldn't be nearly kicking Wincott's ass for any segment of their fight.

Photobucket

This is the perfect kind of role for Michael Ironside, total dick, no nonsense, secret service agent-- even if he's Canadian. For a guy of his talents and the type of films he does, it's a bit surprising that we haven't seen more of him-- as of this posting this is only is fourth film up here. The name doesn't hurt either, I mean, it just sounds cool, doesn't it? Ironside. And he has a knack for playing roles that you'd expect from someone named Ironside.

More often than not, in the DTV movie, the voice-over doesn't work, but here was a rare occasion when it did. Part of that is Wincott's voice, but the director also did a good job of layering them over cool scenes, and making sure the actors sounded like they were reciting the lines, not reading them. There's even a great one over Wincott and his lady interest as they have sex.

Photobucket

This film seems like it's trying to defy DTV action movie conventions throughout, until it hits the end credits, when we get this too sweet hair metal song to send us off with. On the one hand, it left me with a good taste in my mouth, but on the other it kind of made me wish the whole thing was hair metal and montages and helicopters exploding and crazy fight scenes set to electric guitars...

This is a good change of pace, and in that sense it's worth a look. Plus, Wincott and Ironside are not wasted, and a lot of fun, so you get what you paid for with them. The fact that you can get this on DVD through Netflix is an added bonus, so you can take a look at it at very little risk and see if it works for you. Like I said, a lot darker than these things usually go.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110263/

11 comments:

  1. I checked this out a couple of weeks ago but never finished my review of it. I agree with you, different and darker than I was expecting, but good. I should really finish that review..

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah you should, I'd like to check it out and see what you think.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great Write-Up! Thought this was pretty good Wincott\Ironside actioner. Have to buy a copy one day!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, yeah, I think this one just worked, even if it wasn't the classic actioner.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I gotta say I really liked this movie. I think this in particular works because Wincott has genuine acting ability and that he makes for an always gritty hero. I also liked that it wasn't afraid to end on vague terms, while i'll always like Last Man Standing more, this was a pretty solid flick. It really is a well made and well acted movie. Also character development was pretty strong as well, as even the ex-boyfriend security guy isn't completely one dimensional nor is Wincott's ex girlfriend or the male nurse who refuses to tell him what is going on. In fact when Wincott puts the knife to his throat, you sort of feel bad for him. Wincott though deserves the most credit for making am unlikable character and actually making him likable.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think that's a great point about Wincott too. I mean, some of this stuff was silly with the voice-overs and whatnot, but for the most part it worked, and it worked because he pulled it off. Jeff Wincott, a true American hero... from Canada...

    ReplyDelete
  7. All you have to say is Ironside and I'm in.

    ReplyDelete
  8. If you're doing it for Ironside, you'll be happy. The Wincott doesn't hurt either.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nice review, glad you enjoyed the flick. Wicott should still be doing stuff like this, instead of his (blink and miss him) appaerences in fluff like THE INVASION and (the dreadful) UNSTOPPABLE. Don't think i've saw him in a movie since OUTSIDE THE LAW (with Cynth the nymph) almost ten years ago

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks man, and I totally agree that Wincott should be doing stuff like this, I mean, Outside the Law had him as a baddie and he wasn't even in it that much; but yeah, these bit parts in tiny films is crazy. Jerry Trimble has been doing the same thing. They must be starstruck or something.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Re-watched this recently and it wasn't as good as we remembered. Haha. It's coming in March for Kill Week.

    ReplyDelete