REVIEW: Kill Ratio (2016)

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2016, XLrator Media/Parkside Pictures/Tadross Media Group/Subotica/Benattar Thomas Productions

Director:
Paul Tanter
Producers:
Rick Benattar
Nigel Thomas
Tristan Lynch
Writer:
Steven Palmer Peterson
Cinematography:
Patrick Jordan
Editing:
Laurens van Charante

Cast:
Tom Hopper (James Henderson)
Amy Huberman (Gabriella Martin)
Lacy Moore (President Tania Petrenko)
Nick Dunning (General Lazar)
Brian McGuinness (George Vorza)
Luke Pierucci (Matt Gibbons)
Michelle Lehane (Anastasia)
Conor Hegerty (Viktor)

Merlin’s Sir Percival, Tom Hopper, takes center stage in this fun throwback to old school action films as a virtual one-man army.

The Dnestrian Autonomous Republic is a small Eastern European country that under the leadership of current President Tania Petrenko has finally begun to explore democracy. The United States government sends in Gabriella Martin to help the country with putting cell phone towers. When Gabriella goes to the DAR, she is assisted by James Henderson, a man who makes sure all the little end details are worked out so the deal goes through.

After a successful meeting, a local reception is held. However, since Petrenko became leader of the small country, rumors have emerged of a military leader, General Lazar, wanting to start a coup to overthrow Petrenko. The rumor soon becomes reality when Lazar’s number one, Vorza, sends in masked men to hold the reception hostage. James tries to get Gabriella out but when he finds Gabriella has returned, they discover a wounded Petrenko in the trunk of a cab. It is soon revealed that James was a former member of the CIA who due to his impeccable reputation, is considered “bluelist”, which means he will be able to kill without consequence. James is now the country’s only hope to keep its democracy as he must find a way to rescue the hostages and put an end to Lazar’s coup.

The good ol’ days of action, when one-man armies would decimate an entire terrorist group or military regime. This subgenre of action cinema had turned out the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger (Commando), Sylvester Stallone (Rambo), Chuck Norris (Invasion USA), Steven Seagal (Under Siege), and in the case of a little film called Die Hard, Bruce Willis. For this throwback to that subgenre of film, writer Steven Palmer Peterson crafted an interesting story that meshes elements of Die Hard with politics and does so quite nicely.

The reason why the film is fun to watch can be summed up in two words: Tom Hopper. The Merlin and Black Sails actor is quite a hoot to watch as hero James Henderson, an ex-CIA agent turned liaison. Hopper perfected his American accent in the role and plays Henderson not so much a total tough guy, but one who uses casual wits when necessary. In a pivotal scene, he goes outside of the hotel where the military regime have taken everyone hostage and somehow convinces a masked man to let him take a quick smoke after offering him one. That’s how good he is in terms of evading a dangerous situation.

Irish actress Amy Huberman offers ample support as Gabriella, the young woman in charge of making the deal with the small Eastern European republic while Lacy Moore, despite her character being wounded for most of the film, really gives it her all as the President of the republic, who has a firm stance of democracy. Brian McGuinness makes the most of his role as Vorza, the right hand man of our central villain General Lazar, played by Nick Dunning. While Lazar doesn’t come in until almost halfway of the film, the buildup does have a bit of tension. However, McGuiness’s Vorza makes more of an impact and plays a character who has a firm stance on why a dictatorship is better than democracy. After killing off a central secondary character after a masked man doesn’t do the job, Vorza tells the masked man, “Democracy makes cowards out of all of you.” What many will be quite shocked at is that this is one international cast who pull off foreign accents quite well with rarely any slip-ups of their natural accents.

Under the coordination of Brendan Condren and Branislav Martinak, the action scenes of the film are quite enjoyable. The film allows Hopper to engage in both shooting bad guys and using close quarter combat sequences, which are not stylized but more akin to grounded combat. However, in a nice twist of things, Dunning’s Lazar doesn’t believe in taking on protestors by shooting at them, but instead goes for a more perhaps old school manor of dueling with swords. This is quite a break from a normality in terms of what is expected from the film and is done nicely. We see two such swordfights in the film, including a climactic fight between Dunning and Hopper.

Kill Ratio is a fun throwback to the good ol’ days of action cinema with a few nicely handled twists. Tom Hopper truly is the reason to see this film as a witty type of action hero and a breakout from perhaps Brian McGuinness as one very dangerous henchman.

WFG RATING: B+

The film will hit theaters on December 9, 2016 followed by a VOD and iTunes release on December 13, 2016 from XLrator Media.

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