In the grand pantheon of bad VOD action-thrillers starring Bruce Wills (of which there are many), Hard Kill is far from the worst. Having said that, there’s little to praise in this Matt Eskandari directed film which is top-lined by former Desperate Housewives star Jesse Metcalfe.
Willis plays Donovan Chalmers (Bruce Willis) a tech billionaire with a penchant for nice scarves, who hires a team of mercenaries led by Jesse Metcalfe to help protect Project 725, a piece of technology that has the potential to change the world for the better or for the worse. Unfortunately for all involved, Sergio Rizzuto’s The Pardoner (he has an appreciation of Chaucer, really) wants to do the latter – he has also kidnapped Willis’ daughter (Lala Kent). Cue: bullets galore.
Apparently filmed over just 10 days (surely only one of which involved Willis), Hard Kill looks like the cast and crew just found an abandoned warehouse and decided to shoot there (quite literally). There’s no real flare on display here – unless you count the many lens flare shots courtesy of cinematographer Bryan Koss. As for the screenplay, it would seem like screenwriters Joe Russo (no, not that one) and Chris LaMont decided to have some fun and wrote it out over a weekend after a couple of six packs of beer. On a performance level everyone is as wooden as the many pallets dotted throughout the film’s abandoned setting.
Movies In Focus has said it Ad infitiuam, but it’s a huge shame that Willis continues to crank out these low budget thrillers on such a regular basis. I’m sure he wants to spend time with his wife and family and maintain a good lifestyle, but it must be embarrassing to turn up to the set of such dreck. This is Wills’ third collaboration with director Matt Eskandari (following Survive the Night and Trauma Center), while he’s signed a deal which will take his relationship with Emmett/Furla Films producers Randall Emmett and George Furla up to 20 movies. Speaking of producers, Hard Kill has 30 credited producers – that’s three for everyday of the shoot, folks.
The title may draw comparisons to Willis’ Die Hard or even the 1990 Steven Seagal actioner Hard To Kill but any similarity to those is probably down to some over enthusiastic marketing bods (the film was originally called Open Source). Short, sweet and incredibly cheap, Hard Kill isn’t good, but if you somehow find yourself in the mood to watch this type VOD pic then it’s okay, I guess.