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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Martial Arts > Crime > Gangsters > Assassin > Hired To Kill (1990/MVD Visual/Arrow Video Blu-ray w/DVD)

Hired To Kill (1990/MVD Visual/Arrow Video Blu-ray w/DVD)

Picture: B-/B+ Sound: B-/B+ Extras: B Film: C

The 1990 film, Hard To Kill, directed by Nico Mastorakis and Peter Rader is full of incredible action set pieces, humor, and strong leading men including the late Oliver Reed (Gladiator), George Kennedy (The Naked Gun films), and action star Brian Thompson (Cobra) - who plays the hardened badass Frank Ryan in the film. In supporting roles, are Jose Ferrer, Michelle Moffett, David Sawyer, and Barbara Lee Alexander. As explained by Director Nico Mastorakis in the bonus features, the film was originally pitched as a female Magnificent Seven.

This is another great addition to Arrow Video's growing library, as it has a flavor that will appeal to not only fans of action and adventure films, but of cult films as well. What I personally like about Arrow is that they find films that are mostly 'forgotten' and create an attractive and informative Blu-ray release that sheds new light on them and makes them relevant again while also involving the original filmmakers in each release. If you're a fan of 1980s era action films like Rambo or Commando, then you will most definitely want to pick up this deluxe Blu-ray release from Arrow that has some interesting extras, a full color collectible booklet, and a highly detailed new 2K restoration of the film.

Frank Ryan (Thompson) is a badass killer that doesn't like mornings. Persuaded by the promise of lots of cash, Ryan is hired to pose as a fashion photographer and be accompanied by a pack of beautiful models to travel to South America and perform a 'fake' modeling shoot. That's all a cover of course for the real plan: free a jailed rebel leader from a Third World island fortress that is guarded by some of the most dangerous men in the world. Filled with corny humor, explosive action, and a simple (if not painfully predictable) storyline, some of the acting is hit or miss, specifically with Brian Thompson, who is a great physical actor but not so much a pro when it comes to delivering dialogue. What the film lacks in those areas, it admittedly makes up for in heart, a trait that many modern day action films lack. The presence of Oliver Reed is always welcome and the third act of the film is pretty fun and exciting to watch.

Hired to Kill looks fantastic in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray as it boasts a new 2K High Definition transfer presented in its original 1:85:1 widescreen aspect ratio approved by writer-director Nico Mastorakis and an uncompressed, lossless DTS-HD MA track and a PCM Stereo audio track on the Blu-ray that both sound fantastic.

Also included in the standard definition DVD with a 2.0 Stereo track and an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1. While it looks great for the format, the DVD loses much of the clarity and sharpness of the high definition Blu-ray. Still, it's nice to have both editions in one package.

Extras include...

Audio Commentary with editor Barry Zetlin

Hired to Direct - a brand new interview with director Nico Mastorakis

Undercover Mercenary - a brand new interview with star Brian Thompson

Original Theatrical Trailer

Stills Gallery (accompanied with excerpts the film's wonderful score)

Original Freedom or Death Screenplay (BD/DVD-ROM Content)

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

and a fully-illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver

I enjoyed this action packed, yet slightly dated romp and would suggest it to others.

- James Lockhart



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