Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I think the funniest thing that happens to a Dolph Lundgren movie on its release day is that it immediately becomes obscure.  Nobody watches his movies anymore nor have they ever in all honesty.  Lundgren is kind of a Hollywood oddity.  He isn't Arnold Swartzenegger or Sly Stallone but he isn't Michael Dudikoff either.  He is somewhere in the middle waiting for that one movie that fully utilizes his presence and strengths.  His strengths of course are that he can kung-fu and pull a trigger.  And he is really tall.  THE KILLIING MACHINE comes close to doing that.  I said close.

What makes THE KILLING MACHINE awesome is Dolph Lundgren.  He fully lives up to the over the top title.  He, in his business suit walking around with all sorts of guns shooting bad guys is why you watch a film like this.  Lundgren is a mean looking badass.  It works.  The movie delivers on the violence.  When guys get shot, blood shoots out of their bodies.  If a guy takes one in the leg it looks like it hurts.  Blood is effectively used.  Bullets look like they puncture more than just the outer clothing.  I don't think it was digital blood either.  Maybe it was.  I couldn't tell.  The action is well filmed and you can always tell what is going on.  This combination of strong badass Lundgren and great bloody action should have propelled this film into immediate cult status.  This film should be bigger than what it is.  This film should have been released in theaters but something got in its way.

What deflates the greatness of THE KILLING MACHINE is the story.  Lundgren plays Icarus a hit man for the Russian mob.  He gets setup (of course) and now he has to protect his family from a bunch of killers that you have no idea who they work for.  Two things ruin this movie.  The first is the overly complicated story.  By the end I still have no idea who set up Lundgren.  I am pretty sure it was the C.I.A. who show up and capture Icarus and his family.  But it could easily be the rival Russian mob who I think Lundgren goes after when the setup occurs.  The C.I.A. tells Icarus to kill the head of the Russian mob (Bo Svenson) and Icarus at first refuses.  That really confused me because I figured Icarus was going to kill him anyway.  Wouldn't you want the C.I.A. to endorse your revenge so that you don't go to jail afterward?  Wouldn't they be helpful getting you the guns you need to take down a heavily protected mob boss?  I don't know.  I just couldn't tell what was going on storywise.  Secondly, did you notice that in my plot description I mentioned the word "family"?  That's right.  The Killing Machine has an ex-wife and a daughter who is about seven.  The best thing that can happen to a family in an action film is that they get gunned down or exploded right away.  This way there aren't any scenes where the The Killing Machine is called "Daddy" over and over again and there is no weird reconciliation with your ex-wife sex scenes.  The plot about Dolph balancing his personal life with his "shooting people in the face" life is out of place in a movie called THE KILLING MACHINE.  Its weird seeing Dolph "act" like a normal person.  These kinds of plots are put into an action film to make the film seem deep and intelligent.  See its smart because they are talking and crying and not blowing up.  Oh, no the Killing Machine missed his daughter's school play!  Who cares? 

Most action movies need to be boiled down to there basics.  Complicated characters and high body counts are what drive action movies into greatness, not complicated stories based on "whodunits" and intrigue.  Especially in revenge movies, villains are nothing more than dominos knocked over in a long line until the final last domino is down.  Everytime a bad guy dies the story takes a step forward.  When you don't know who the villain is you don't know the progress of the story.  Killing bad guys becomes nothing more than a mindless inserted action scene that has no point to the story whatsoever.  That is one reason why I don't care for car chases.

Dolph directed this one and his skills behind the camera are improving.  Slightly.  At least he understands the violence aspect.  THE KILLING MACHINE is probably Lundgren's third best film starring him.  I COME IN PEACE  and THE PUNISHER  are still his best.  This is a good movie and I really enjoyed it despite the family scenes.  Watch it for the violence, folks.  You won't be disappointed in that department.  Now, if you will excuse me, I must leave to take on my WASHING MACHINE!  HA-Ha.........what?


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