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Hired To Kill

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

Released in 1990 • Color • 91 minutes • Directed by Nico Mastorakis/Peter Rader • Written by Fred Perry, Kirk Ellis, Nico Mastorakis • Starring Brian Thompson, Oliver Reed, George Kennedy, José Ferrer • Blu Ray

FILM REVIEW: A macho square-jawed assassin, who doesn't hesitate to shoot his own telephone when it disturbs his sleep, is hired by the CIA to overthrow an island dictator. The catch? He'll be posing as a 'fashion photographer' and his models will be an all-female elite killing squad. Naturally our hero objects to working with women - almost as much as posing as a homosexual. Of course, he accepts the mission and will do anything to see it through. And I do mean anything!

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This action thriller from established director Nico Mastorakis (Island of Death) remarkably features 1980's bad guy heavy Brian Thompson (Cobra) as the good guy - and he's terrific at it! To my knowledge this is his only leading role and Thompson shines with enough enthusiasm for it to be true. He's literally smirking his way through the movie and I couldn't keep my eyes off of him - what a treat!

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The notorious Oliver Reed (The Devils, Venom, Spasms) is easily cast as the villain, but unfortunately he let's his mustache do all the acting. He was either too drunk or not drunk enough to care for this one. 1960s television regular George Kennedy (The Delta Force) is also top billed, but has a limited number of scenes. Must've shot all his scenes in a day to free up his schedule for the NAKED GUN sequels. They sprinkle his scenes throughout the movie to keep him relevant, so at least the filmmakers put some effort in.

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The highlight of the movie is a recruiting/training montage of Thompson's deadly ladies as well as the women themselves. They are beautiful and the exotic locations are too. The film was shot in Corfu, Greece and is really quite breathtaking - I can't say that I've ever seen another movie shot there. Production value is also boosted with some helicopter sequences for the action-packed finale, but the excitement wears off before the third act. Maybe one too many double crosses on this secret mission.

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In summation, underperforming bad guy Oliver Reed and over-performing good guy Brian Thompson make this one absolutely memorable. The first act is dynamite, but stay tuned til the last scene for a hoot of an ending. Really fun movie and who knew Brian Thompson could be such a lovable good guy?

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Josh Stephenson was born in Florida, schooled in Chicago, and lives in New Orleans. His mother went into labor while his father and brother were attending a theatrical double feature of EXCALIBUR and BLOOD BEACH. A youth spent in the VHS rental heyday led to a lifelong addiction to movies. He holds a BS in Television Journalism from the University of Florida and a BA in Film Editing from Columbia College Chicago. He continues to work in the Louisiana film industry despite a government-issued tax cap.
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