KILL 'EM ALL
Directed by: Peter Malota
Starring: Jean Claude Van Damme, Peter Stomare, Maria Conchita Alonso, Chis Van Damme, Daniel Bernhardt, Autumn Reeser
Somewhere in the Balkans, two people are rushed to a hospital suffering gunshot wounds following a shootout in a restaurant. One of them, Philip, is hell bent on revenge against the man who ordered the murder of his father, and had infiltrated a criminal organisation to do so. Now his cover is blown, and a hit squad soon arrives at the hospital to finish the job of killing him...
Kill 'Em All is one of the worst action films I've seen in a long time, and it has few excuses for being so. It has a good cast, it has good fight scenes (for the most part). Van Damme is up and on his feet and kicking ass. However the whole structure of the film is just horrible.
Let's start with the horrible opening credits. This utilises a montage of all the action scenes from the film itself. Only one set of films has made this work and is part of the series signature, and that's Mission: Impossible. However this is just horribly drawn out - the whole credit sequence runs for five whole minutes and is jussssst so slow.
However, the film's problems actually start even before the credits - the very first thing we see is a shot of Philip leaving the hospital and driving away. This totally undermines all the scenes where nurse Suzanne is being interrogated about Philip being killed in the hospital. We know he's not dead, you showed us in the opening shot!
Poor old Peter Stomare (American Gods) is given the thankless task of interrogating Suzanne, a nurse on duty at the time Philip came in to the hospital, whose life he saves later on. Every time the film jumps back to the interrogation, it stalls any pace or momentum the film was starting to gather. Maria Conchita Alonso gets even less to do. And why the hell is the FBI involved in a gangland slaying in the Balkans?
At least the action scenes are pretty good and do lift the film whenever they occur. As the should, as first time director spent a lot of his career as a fight/stunt coordinator, working on a number of Van Damme's previous films. Two actors do stand out - Chris Van Damme, Jean Claude's son, does a good job here in a fight scene with his dad - I feel he needs to cut down on the more flashy kicks though as they are just window dressing. Daniel Bernhardt also does well here, but he has a much better platform in the film Precious Cargo - I recommend you watch that instead of this!
The one thing this film has over the likes of Seagal's Sniper: Special Ops and Contract to Kill is that Van Damme remains an active action star, still able to do all his own fight scenes and still looks good kicking ass. It is literally the only thing, though - the rest of this film is horribly structured and featuring actors who shouldn't be touching this with a barge-pole.
3 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)