Hard Kill (2020) – Film Review
Director: Matt Eskandari
Cast: Bruce Willis, Jessie Metcalfe, Lala Kent
by Roger Crow / @Roger Crow
“We’ve got a great role for you Bruce Willis. You get to sit down in the back of a comfy stretch limo and the young hero gets to sing your praises about what a war hero legend you are. The rest is pottering around an old warehouse, shooting bad guys. Just smirk, pull a trigger, and we give you a suitcase full of cash. Sounds good?”
I’ve no idea if that hypothetical meeting between the producers of Hard Kill and Bruce ever took place, but I can’t blame him for taking the job. The guy deserves his seasoned hero status, and the small fortune in loose change he may have received.
The rest of the cast in this ultra macho and rather serious soldiers of fortune saga are also okay. There’s a bearded, tortured, scarred veteran; a kick ass Megan Fox lookalike with purple hair, and generic other fellow veteran soldiers who are all roped into a mission involving a technical mcguffin revealed in the first few minutes by a blonde (who also looks like Megan Fox), a Liev Schrieber lookalike, and a smoke machine turned up to 11.
“Hungry, youngish cast”
The plot: a team of fearless mercenaries, led by security expert Derek Miller (Jesse Metcalfe) are strategically hired by billionaire tech CEO Donovan Chalmers (Willis) to protect a piece of technology that, if exposed, could destroy the world.
Their mission becomes higher risk when Chalmers’ daughter (Lala Kent) is kidnapped by terrorist group The Pardoners, who will stop at nothing to obtain the tech. Miller and his team must work with Chalmers to save his family and protect the fate of the human race before it’s too late.
So yes, it’s far from original. An Expendables for the younger generation, and there’s nothing wrong in that. It does exactly what it says on the tin.
The cast do their best with the so-so material, and while the bulk of the budget obviously went on hiring Bruce for his stint, fair play to the rest of the hungry youngish cast who do most of the heavy lifting.
Like most action thrillers the film could have done with a good script editor. Every mention of “Project 725” could have been trimmed to “725” after the first couple of mentions. And the bad guy’s speech about, er, not being the bad guy sounds like it was penned by a 16 year old.
What works in its favour is the simple siege set up. If it was good enough for Rio Bravo and the movie it inspired, Assault on Precinct 13, it’s good enough for this by-the-numbers thriller.
I could have done without the annoying gunfire during generic shootouts. Decent sound design doesn’t cost a lot, yet it can make a humdrum movie so much better. Dropping 50 per cent of the gunshot sounds would have helped enormously.
So it’s not bad, just sombre, and very generic. The finale was a bit of a let down. A huge explosion would have helped but I’m guessing the budget didn’t stretch to decent pyro effects.
Don’t expect too much and you may enjoy it. Obviously it’s no Die Hard, but it’s not a complete waste of time either.