Kill ‘Em All (2017)

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2017, Arramis Films/ITN Films/Kill Em All Productions/March On Productions

Director:
Peter Malota
Producers:
Richard Salvatore
Rafael Primorac
Writers:
Jesse Cilio
Briam Smolensky
Craig Stewart
Cinematography:
Mark Rutledge
Editing:
Yvan Gauthier

Cast:
Jean-Claude Van Damme (Philip)
Autumn Reeser (Suzanne)
Peter Stormare (Agent Holman)
Maria Conchita Alonso (Agent Sanders)
Daniel Bernhardt (Radovan)
Paul Sampson (Klaus)
Mila Kala (Almira)
Kris Van Damme (Dusan)
Kieran Gallagher (Zoran)
Peter Organ (Ivan)

“The Muscles from Brussels” stars in this action thriller that has some highs and a few lows, but ultimately finds its redemption in some intricate plot twists and turns.

Agents Holman and Sanders are interrogating a nurse named Suzanne about the recent events at a local hospital where chaos had ensued and resulted in many deaths. Suzanne tells the story of how this particular day would change her life forever. At the hospital, a group of victims who have been shot have arrived and in the case of a mysterious man, he has been slashed in the arm and has a concussion. He is being hunted down by a group of similarly dressed assassins who want to take him down.

The mystery man is Philip, a hitman of sorts who has found himself in the wrong place and wrong time. However, he is now going to fight for his life when a group of assassins led by Radovan have arrived and intend to take down Philip. Philip must rely on his sharp wits and fighting skills with one thing in mind, to kill them all. As Suzanne protects herself when she is attacked, she somewhat bonds with Philip all while trying to make sure she isn’t killed in the chaos. As Philip takes down each member of the group, leader Radovan is going to do what it takes to take down Philip himself. Who will survive and what’s in store during Suzanne’s interrogation when she learns about Philip’s past?

This action thriller marks the directorial debut of Peter Malota, a respected martial artist, actor, and fight choreographer who got his start working with the likes of Jun Chong before meeting longtime friend, action legend Jean-Claude Van Damme. Malota and Van Damme have been on screen together in films such as 1991’s Double Impact and 1996’s The Quest. For a directorial debut, with a script by the trio of Jesse Cilio, Briam Smolensky, and Craig Stewart, the film is not completely bad. However, there are a few flaws that could have been improved upon. However, Malota ultimately does a decent job for his first effort as director.

The film juxtaposes flashbacks and present day, all beginning with the aftermath of what the viewer will experience with Peter Stormare and Maria Conchita Alonso playing agents interrogating a nurse who not only witnessed it all, but has had her share of hits. Autumn Reeser does quite well in the pivotal role of Suzanne, the nurse who finds herself in a situation she never expected to be in. As for Jean-Claude Van Damme, he once again makes the most of the “aging action hero”, once again using his trademark fighting skills and even gets to be doubled for some more complicated kicking yet that only happens on two occasions. As we learn more about the character of Philip, the film becomes more interesting.

Daniel Bernhardt, who replaced JCVD in the sequels to Bloodsport, the breakout role for Van Damme, makes for a pretty good villain leader in Radovan. One of the highlights of the film in terms of a villain taking on our protagonist is actually a pretty good father vs. son fight scene. Kris Van Damme takes the role of assassin Dusan, who is not only an expert knife thrower but quite a superkicker who definitely has followed in his father’s footsteps when it comes to some great kicks. Kris takes on his father in a brief fight that allows Kris to showcase his kicking skills quite nicely.

Perhaps, the time could be for Kris Van Damme to stop playing henchmen in his father’s films and showcase his talents in a lead role. Sadly, this is a better fight than the fight between the Bloodsport stars as Bernhardt seems to have the lower hand and not being able to show much of the skills that led him to gain a following with the Bloodsport sequels.

The film does include some important flashbacks that mold the character of Philip and ends on a literal jaw-dropping note and it is because of these with some decent fight scenes that Kill ‘Em All is not a bad action film. However, the big match between Van Damme and Bernhardt is a bit of a letdown but despite this, this is an overall decent directorial debut for Peter Malota.

WFG RATING: B-

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