AN HOUR TO KILL
Directed by: Aaron K Carter
Starring: Aaron Guerrero, Frankie Pozos, Mel Novak
Hitmen Gio and Frankie work for Mr Kinski, an old-school mobster. When a planned hit goes wrong, Kinski smells a rat and demands that Gio takes care of the problem. While waiting for the hit to be green-lit, Gio and Frankie swap old-war stories to pass the time…
An Hour to Kill is a pretty decent cross between a Tarantino-esque gangster movie and a horror anthology. And for once, both the wrap-around story and the short tales within are all entertaining.
The film starts with Gio and Frankie trying to ambush a rival mobster called Arash - Frankie is sent in to distract Vince the bartender (Vince Kelvin, looking a lot like an older Christopher Mintz-Plasse with a bad punk mohawk), while Gio slips into the back to take out the rival gang. The only problem is that Arash gets away and Mr Kinski suspects Frankie of tipping him off. Kinski wants him dead, and he wants Gio to do the deed.
While waiting for the final go-ahead from Kinski, Gio and Frankie go about their usual day and end up talking about past situations they've been in as well as some urban legends they've come across. The first of these is VALKYRIE'S BUNKER. Set in the 1980's this sees a group of college girls searching for a stash of marijuana growing on an old compound which used to belong to a notorious Nazi sympathizer. This plays out exactly as you'd expect, except for the fact that all the murders are committed off-camera. The girls simply disappear, one by one, with a little grizzly sound-effect to mark their demise. I can only imagine that the film's low budget was a significant factor here - that plus the whole episode takes place in a real location which would have made it difficult to set up fx shots. Nevertheless this segment is fun.
While Valkyrie's Bunker was rather conventional, the next two segments are anything but. ASSACRE starts with a burrito eating contest (Frankie was among its contestants which is how he heard of this horrible tale!). Also among the contestants are Luna Meow, Brendan Mitchell, Gabriel Mercado (the reigning champion) and Jake O'Toole, a guy with his own video podcast. Jake happens to win the contest, which pisses off Brendan and Gabriel, so they play a prank on Jake by convincing him to try a rare chilli called le Sacre Pepper.
There are some really interesting characters in this segment, and I got the impression that some of them might actually be local internet celebs (Luna and Brendan for example use their real names in the film). The Nigerian food referee made me laugh with his response to Brendan's question about what Nigerians do for fun. You can really imagine someone like Jake existing on Youtube or wherever with his little videos.
This particular segment is not for the squeamish or those who dislike scatological humour. We are talking about the effects off a devli's chill pepper, afterall, and the various stages of discomfort Jake goes through is pretty funny and messed up.
The final tale spun by Gio and Frankie is called HOG HUNTERS, a story which takes its ideas from Deliverance and make them much worse. A bowling team consisting of three hillbilly friends decide to haze their newest team member, to test his mettle and make sure he's going to fit in with their interests. One of them had heard of some Big Girls living out on a farm looking for a good time, so they decide to go "hog hunting". However it turns out that there's more to these "girls" than meets the eye!
In between and wrapping around these segments, we spend time with both Gio and Frankie. You could liken their relationship to that of Mr White and Mr Orange from Reservoir Dogs. Gio considers himself a professional, a person who keeps his emotions never flinches from anything. You get the impression that he's hoping he doesn't have to kill his partner, because he spends time teaching him little details about the job they do (such as using a "burner" car, making sure you leave no trace of your presence). Frankie is almost the opposite - impetuous, fidgety, enjoying taking things to excess without considering the consequences. Both characters play off well with each other.
Mel Novak is an actor whose list of credits is longer than your arm. He starred in a couple of early Chuck Norris movies (An Eye for an Eye and A Force of One) as well as other well known action movies in the 70's and 80's. I have to admit I'm not overly familiar with his latter day work but he still has a lot of fans, who will be pleased to see him in this.
An Hour To Kill is a film which has had to make some compromises in its storytelling to suit its low budget. However, other than lacking some bigger production values and some polish, this is a very entertaining film with colourful characters and dialogue and stories which head into unexpected directions.