In a rare leading role Hired to Kill stars Brian Thompson as mercenary Frank Ryan. Tasked with travelling to the fictitious country Cypra under the guise of gay clothes designer Cecil Thornton with a hand-picked team of fashion models/soldiers that have particular set of skills.
The team’s mission is to rescue Jose Ferrer’s Rallis an imprisoned hard-core leftist leader and overthrow the country that Oliver Reed’s despot leader Michael Bartos has ruled over for many years. The men on a mission movie has been staple of all levels of filmmaking throughout its history but this 1990 Nico Mastorakis co-directed with Peter Hader is enjoyably hokey “B” action flick that deliver genre expectations.
To modern audiences the script written by Fred Perry, Kirk Ellis and Nico Mastorakis could be labelled as homophobic and misogynistic. Ryan’s limp wristed portrayal of a gay man along with some of his quips; “From Eve to Margaret Thatcher, women have been causing trouble!” but the film’s plot holes are more troubling.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Ferrer and George Kennedy both give good performances, managing to deliver the hokey dialogue with the respect that brilliant actors like them would do. Oliver Reed who according to the films extra material was drunk through most of the production is fine as the moustached death squad leader who looks genuinely surprised in his “romantic” scene with the fashion designer.
The film has a laugh out moment during the first act montage training sequence where the ladies are becoming proficient in weapons, tactics and catwalk modelling. We see Thompson’s Ryan doing one-armed push ups which cuts to him struggling with a tie.
The second Mastorakis movie out to buy in the space of a month from Arrow Video comes in a dual format release with interviews by Nico discussing the film’s production which had its share of problems mostly down to Oliver Reed’s boozing and a tragic helicopter accident that claimed the life of a young stuntman Clint Carpenter.
Hired to Kill’s lead Brian Thompson is also interviewed. he talks about his acting debut in The Terminator as one of the punks killed by Arnie to his experience on the movie who at the time of the film’s production was married to the Greek director’s daughter. The disc also contains a commentary from Hired to Kill’s Editor Barry Zetlin who discusses his career in the industry mostly cutting horror sequels sit alongside a photo gallery and a trailer.
This B movie is an enjoyably hokey action flick that has many thrilling & laugh out moments.
Dir: Nico Mastorakis, Peter Rader
Scr: Nico Mastorakis, Fred Perry, Kirk Ellis
Cast: Brian Thompson, Oliver Reed, George Kennedy, Jose Ferrer
Prd: Peter Rader, Isabelle Mastorakis
DOP: Andreas Bellis
Music: Jerry Grant
Runtime: 133 minutes
Hired to Kill is available on Dual Format now