Not exactly a film that made headlines (or theaters, judging by the lack of record on Box Office Mojo), Contract Killers comes by way of First Look Studios, perhaps the biggest DVD release company of this past year in terms of titles put out that no one has ever heard of. Still, while the majority of their stock is of films that most viewers pass up on DVD shelves, they have had some hits this past year, but Contract Killers sadly won’t start off their January release schedule with a bang. In fact, this film won’t do much of anything for those who see it.
Trust is such a fragile thing. A CIA assassin attempst to break out of the contract killing business to try to lead a normal life. But when “the system” tracks her down and frames her for the death of her husband, she embarks on a path of revenge that leads her back into the life she tried so hard to abandon. Starring Nick Mancuso, Frida Farrell, Wolf Muser, Rhett Giles, Christian Willis, G. Anthony Joseph, Steve Boergadine and K. Lee Sherman. Film written and directed by Justin Rhodes.
So here we go, starting off the New Year with a film that no one has heard or cares about. I gotta hand it to First Look, they almost consistently release disappointing films (there are a handful I enjoyed, of course…oddly enough, the ones I really enjoyed I didn’t actually review, but I digress) and Contract Killers really doesn’t break away from that formula. I’ll admit it’s got some mindless and fun action in it, but as a whole it’s a very, very dry and dull film that has just honestly been done better in a myriad of other films. On top of that the plot is about as overdone as you can get, with the “framed for a murder they didn’t commit” being an angle I’ve seen in no fewer than three films in the last month alone.
What didn’t help this film was that it started off confusing and kept the viewer in the dark for the rest of the ride. Sure, it could have been figured out if you formed some of your own plot devices to toss in there, but in all the plot was incredibly hole ridden. There were few characters that were even interesting and the lead, played by Frida Farrell, is neither poorly done nor memorable in the least. Despite Farrell being some decent eye candy to gaze upon for eighty six minutes, the majority of this film was just a drag to watch. I’m not even entirely sure how a film like this came to be—I’ve not heard of a single one of the actors and/or crew involved in this piece, so it’s not like it even had a generic UFC wrestler or Steven Seagal to fuel it.
I will say that this film’s action was really well done, but when it’s mixed in with mediocre acting and an absolutely worthless storyline, it really doesn’t compel one to watch it again (or recommend it to anyone else). On top of the action, I discovered some really nice artwork done for the film that really made it look a lot more interesting than it actually was. Indeed, even the cover art for the DVD release is quite intimidating and almost makes it appear to have some kind of Smokin’ Aces or Lucky Number Slevin vibe. But nope…no funny or witty dialogue here, just…boring sequences abound.
Overall Contract Killers can be judged by its cover: there’s a movie title, a gun and a pretty face and nothing else. Well there’s some strange leather strap on the bottom of the front picture, but I’m not sure what that’s all about. It’s a generic action flick with absolutely nothing going for it. It’s a shame too; the title is relatively entertaining sounding and, again, it certainly looked interesting judging from the images that litter the DVD packaging. Alas, this one can be Skipped. I can’t even recommend it for action junkies; just go watch Die Hard for the twentieth time…your time will have been better spent.
First Look Studios has release Contract Killers in a single disc amaray case without any inserts and a generic menu system. Oddly enough my copy of the film came with two labels over the top of the case; same title underneath, I assume they just changed the UPC on it. In any case that’s about as interesting as the packaging gets, as they didn’t even manage to get a quote from anyone on the cover (or on the back).
Video is a standard interlaced anamorphic transfer that looks fine for a modern production, but nothing that blows you away. Audio is a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix that adequately brings to life the action and distributes the confusing dialogue all around the channels of the room. Also included are a set of English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
The extras? Hold onto your seats, because an awesome Music Video “Toro Toro” by Machel Montano featuring Shaggy is included! Holy crap, I was so excited to watch this. That was sarcasm for those who aren’t able to pick up the dripping buckets I threw on this paragraph.
So…yeah. A decent transfer and a music video for an extra. Oh, of course, there are some Previews as well…but, y’know…that’s mandatory.
Overall Skip this one—you aren’t missing anything.
Contract Killers arrives on DVD on January 13th.