HAVEN'T WE BEEN HERE BEFORE? SPOILERS
Haven't we? Hasn't Van Damme done this already? Or maybe Seagal? The old warhorse in which a top assassin is targeted for termination by persons unknown, the prey turns predator and kicks mucho scumbag ass to protect his cute ickle daughter and hot milfy wife? Maybe they have, maybe they haven't - it's exactly the kind of thing they do these days - but it all seems dreadfully familiar, a strictly by-the-numbers string of shootings and killings and punchings and Russian accents and stuff blowing up.
That's pretty much all that happens in The Killing Machine, a perfunctory and drab-looking action pic in which Dolph Lundgren is only pretending to be a high-flying international real estate salesman: he's really a top contract killer for a Russian crime syndicate based in, er, Vancouver. But his attempts to maintain the facade of a normal family life come to a screeching halt when other killers blow up his new girlfriend and target his cute ickle daughter for termination, and Dolph has to find out who the killers work for and get his life and family back.
Despite the huge body count and frequent bursts of bloody violence, it's all pretty bland, uninteresting to look at and mainly consisting of heavily accented Russian gangsters firing guns at each other. There's no-one to really root for - our nominal hero is a murderer who casually kills a dozen anonymous goons along with the contracted target - so there's no real empathy with him and worse, you start to wonder whether his family might actually be better off without him. When you start to side with the film's apparent villains - as bloodstained and violent as he is - something isn't working.
This is apparently the sixth film that Dolph has directed himself in, and it's nothing more than textbook DTV action fodder, and very old-fashioned fodder at that. It also suffers from the cheap digital look at odds with the cinematic widescreen ratio (curiously the DVD offers a widescreen and a full frame version; I watched the former and frankly I'm not about to sit through it again in full frame to see if it's any better). Noisy, unattractive and very, very ordinary. Except, interestingly, for Lundgren himself: at 53 he's actually a good solid, weatherbeaten presence in the lead role. That's not enough to save the movie, though.
It's available here: