Kill ’em All (Blu-ray Review)15 Jan, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Well Go USA
$24.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Stars Johnny Messner, Chia Hui Liu, Joe Lewis, Tim Man, Ammara
Siripong, Brahim Achabbakhe, Erik Markus Schuetz.
With a title like Kill ’em All, this Bangkok-based mixed martial arts actioner would suggest that anything resembling a plot is likely a waste of time.
But German director Raimund Huber tries anyway. Borrowing liberally from myriad survivor flicks, Huber opens with a group of disparate assassins ensconced in a warehouse (a.k.a. “killing chamber”) with no way out unless they kill each other to the last person standing.
Pulling the levers in this lacking video game is Snakehead (Chia Hiu Liu from Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1), who doles out challenges and punishment (to losers) for amusement via overhead speakers like some twisted Wizard of Oz.
With Saw-like morality under the aegis of a wannabe The Jigsaw Killer, the viewer is left to a series of perfunctory “death matches” whittling down the assassins tribe to Som (Ammara Siripong), an attractive Ninja warrior who can kill with more than looks; Gabriel (Johnny Messner), an eloquent hired killer with an affinity for “blowing shit up”; and The Kid (Chinese-Swedish martial arts stunt man Tim Man), whose soft demeanor and long locks scream compassion.
Renowned kickboxer Joe Lewis (not the famed pugilist), who helped introduce the sport in the United States in the 1970s, and reportedly is one of a handful fighters ever to defeat Chuck Norris, doesn’t make the “final cut” — his character sacrificed for the collective good. Sadly, Lewis died at age 68 shortly after appearing in the film.
Gabriel, to his credit, convinces Som and The Kid that working together increases their survival chances — a prudent decision that pits the group against a visual onslaught of Snakehead’s forces packing martial arts fury.
With a reported $3.2 million budget, Kill ’em All seemingly spent much of the budget choreographing fights, lighting, cameras and locations — leaving viewers with no excuse not to watch it all.