[su_dropcap size=”5″]T[/su_dropcap]here are signs that Hard Kill is in deep monkey doo before the first scene is even over. The character played by Bruce Willis gets referred to as “Dayton” by the dialogue, but “Donovan” in the captioning. Later, a well-traveled operative mispronounces “Darfur.” And that’s to say nothing of the ham-fisted, expositional writing that makes the Fast and Furious movies look like Masterpiece Theater. Unfortunately, this represents the high point of the entire story. Everything from here on is a hayride directly into the bowels of Hell.
I wish I could describe this movie’s plot in meticulous detail, but I honestly spent a lot of it playing Techmo Bowl in my head. Bo Jackson barreled for touchdowns on touchdowns. Anyway, I’ll do my best: It seems ol’ Dayton/Donovan is some kinda tech billionaire who’s made a fortune doing…you know, stuff. Well, one of his company’s powerful gizmos–which looks a lot like a 90s modem–could make the world peaceful and more efficient. Or…dun DUN DUNNNN: It could reappropriated as a terrible weapon!! Seriously, where do they come up with this crazy shit?!
Whooo-weee! My head is still a-spinning! What kinda shenanigans are the writers gonna chuck at us next? Well, Daytona calls in Derek Miller (Jesse Metcalfe), an elite mercenary with a few personal demons. Of course, Derek also has a team of wisecracking buddies who join him to protect Damian and cash one last paycheck. You probably think Derek’s squad is all movie clichés, and you’d be dead-on, actually: We’ve got the obligatory Hot Chick (Natalie Eva Marie), the Black Guy (Nick Fox), the Guy with a Beard (Swem Temmel), the Other Guy with a Beard (Jon Galanis), and…there might be one more dude with a beard. I can’t remember, as the Raiders were beating the holy stuffing out of the Giants at this point.
So, this motley crew of well-armed ruffians decides to protect Durango in a dingy warehouse that looks a lot like how donkey piss smells. It’s here they square off against their greatest enemy: The Pardoner (Sergio Rizzuto). We soon learn that–wait, The Pardoner? What kinda cotton candyass name is The Pardoner? The guy presumably gets to cook up his own evil alias and that‘s all he’s got? Why not Colonel Coffee-breath? Or Dr. Fartstorm?
Annnn-eeee-wayy. We soon learn that the Fart-oner has kidnapped Declan’s daughter Eva (Lala Kent), and is holding her ransom for the device. You see, Eva also has intimate knowledge of the tech and–are you still invested in this story? Hot damn, you are a trooper! Trust me, by the time you get this far into the movie, you won’t give a hoot in hell anymore. Just load up a game of Tetris in your head and enjoy that maddeningly catchy music.
Let’s talk a minute about the performances, shall we? I know this dialogue ain’t exactly Tennessee Williams, but pretty much every actor is flatter than a Ron Jon surfboard. I really hope Metcalfe got paid by the groan, ’cause that would be some Scrooge McDuck money. Rizzuto falls somewhere between Discount Bradley Cooper and Discount Liev Schreiber. Either way, the man has got some killer sideburns. Kent does a great job of crying on cue. Hell, after forty minutes of this movie, so did I.
Then there’s this cheap knock-off Bruce Willis, who gets played by the actual Bruce Willis. Seriously, Bruce seems grouchy, sleepy, and extremely bored. He’s a lot like I was after getting all four wisdom teeth removed. I remember coming down off the meds, staring out the window, and dreaming of an ice cream cone. As Bruce mumbles his lines and looks a thousand miles away, I really wanted someone to hand him a hot fudge sundae. That would’ve been good for one more star on this rating.
Lately, if I’ve been busting a movie open like a piñata, this is the point where I say something nice. Okay…this is gonna take a minute. Talk amongst yourselves. [CUE THE JEOPARDY THEME] And…got it! The best thing about Hard Kill? It doesn’t last forever. After 100 minutes, this film splats on the ground like a soft, rotten pumpkin. In fact, bad movie fans might get a kick out of the ineptitude on display here. Everybody else, consider yourself warned.
98 min. R.