Hard Kill (2020)

A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary goes up against an old rival in this thriller that brings to mind a similar premise to a recent WWE film and ironically, features a former WWE superstar.

Derek Miller is a former soldier turned mercenary who is reeling from his last mission, in which he was nearly killed. One morning, he meets former soldier turned CEO Donovan Chalmers, the head of Chapter House. Derek was referred to by Nick Fox, a former Marine who served with Derek. Derek learns his former nemesis, a terrorist leader known as “The Pardoner” has stolen a secret artificial intelligence project codename Project 725. His mission is not to retrieve the A.I. but protect the man who has the code to activate the program: Chalmers himself.

Derek gets together with his old squad, which consist of the fierce Sasha, her brother Harrison, and fellow merc Dash. When the group are to meet at an abandoned building, they learn the shocking truth about the mission. They learn the Pardoner and his group are in the area and the reason for protecting Chalmers comes to light.  The Pardoner has kidnapped Chalmers’ daughter Ava, who created Project 725 to lure him out. Derek and his team are now determined to protect Chalmers despite being outnumbered and outgunned.

This action thriller co-written by Joe Russo (not the director of Avengers: Endgame) and Chris LaMont is quite a fascinating film about a former Marine turned mercenary who seeks both revenge and redemption for his team is a bit reminiscent in certain aspects of 2018’s The Marine 6: Close Quarters in which the titular Marine and his partner must protect a target from criminals in an abandoned building. However, for this particular film, it’s more on familiar ground as our team must protect their target from an old enemy of theirs, also in an abandoned building.

Jesse Metcalfe shows his action and acting chops as team leader Derek, who seeks revenge as we learn that our villain, the Pardoner (played by Sergio Rizzuto) shot Derek in the back in the last mission he accepted. While Derek shows that he will overcome his past to complete his new mission, he is not alone. Former WWE Superstar Natalie Eva Marie brings the fierceness as Sasha (Beyonce fans will get the pun), the only female member of the team. She ditches her trademark red hair for a more darker tone with purple/blue ends. Along with Sasha’s brother Harrison and friend Dash, they are a well-oiled machine who sometimes are at odds when the mission begins.

Bruce Willis, usually one to start blazing when it comes to the action, takes a step back and lets Metcalfe and crew do the dirty work as Chalmers, in this case, the target. Lala Kent does a pretty good job as Ava, Chalmers’ assistant who finds herself duped by our villain because she created the AI in order to make the world a better place, but it’s clear the two different meanings of that statement shows the level of craziness that will become the catalyst of the film. In addition, Ava does admit another factor is her relationship with her father, which seems to be clearly estranged. It plays a vital role in the film’s plot, which makes this a level above your typical action film.

Hard Kill is an above-average indie action film. Sure, it has a villain who can be over the top at times, but it’s more than just a protection mission. It’s also about the relationships between our heroes and our target and his estranged daughter, which help drive the film. Of course, it also has some exciting action and twists within the story.

WFG RATING: B+

Vertical Entertainment presents a Emmett Furla Oasis Films production in association with SSS Capital. Director: Matt Eskandari. Producers: Alexander Eckert, Randall Emmett, George Furla, Shaun Sanghani, Mark Stewart, and Timothy C. Sullivan. Writers: Joe Russo and Chris Lamont; story by Nikolai From and Clayton Haugen. Cinematography: Bryan Koss. Editing: R.J. Cooper.

Cast: Jesse Metcalfe, Bruce Willis, Natalie Eva Marie, Lala Kent, Sergio Rizzuto, Texas Battle, Alexander Eckert, Jacquie Nguyen, Swen Temmel.

The film will be released On Demand and Digital on August 25, 2020.

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