Easy Kill (1989) (part 1 of 7)
Frank Davies (Frank Stallone; Frank’s picture can usually be found in the dictionary under “nepotism”. Unfortunately, he can’t blame Sly for his appearance here. At least we can be thankful he doesn’t sing this movie’s theme song). Frank is an ex-cop who somehow owns a bar in spite of a tendency to disappear for days on end without explanation.
Jade Anderson (Jane Badler; Jane’s best known for playing the Visitor Commander Diana on V until it was mercifully cancelled. This movie might even be considered a step up). Jade is the wife of a drug-smuggling diplomat with a fetish for all things white.
Eddie (Cameron Mitchell; The amount of bad movies Cameron has been in is simply mind-boggling. It was my sincere hope that Easy Kill would simply collapse under the staggering weight of Frank and Cameron’s combined awful resumes. I’m pleased to announce that it delivers. Oh, does it ever deliver.) Eddie is Frank’s bartender and all-around punching bag.
Before we get to the film itself, let’s take a quick peek at this movie’s Video Box Idiocy: Down in the lower right hand corner of the front cover, there’s a blurb that reads:
“Frank Stallone (“Barfly”) gives an explosive performance!” Non-stop action/suspense story of today’s brutal drug wars.
The thing you will notice immediately is that even though there’s quotes around that blurb, it’s not attributed to anyone. Therefore, it’s a quote that no one ever said. The distributors are attempting to make it seem as though a critic lauded Stallone’s performance in this junk, but not even the worst bottom-feeding quote-whore movie critics would ever give them a blurb like that. So, they just made one up. Unfortunately, this is fairly representative of the contempt this movie shows for its audience, as you’ll see very shortly.
The film opens with an aerial shot of a city at night (that’s real creative), and just to make it a little more clichéd, we hear police sirens off in the distance. The camera zooms down to focus on an old blue Pontiac going down the street, as a predictably bad rock song plays in the background.
The Pontiac pulls into an underground parking garage. Apparently a dry ice truck has recently been in the area, because the car passes through a thick bank of fog.
As the car comes to a stop, we see that there are two people inside. The guy in the passenger seat is Alex Anderson, and the guy driving is his thug. What we immediately notice about Alex, as in plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face obvious, is that the camera isn’t going to show us his face. The second thing we notice is that another actor has dubbed Alex’s voice in post-production. The sum effect is similar to when "George Steinbrenner" made appearances on episodes of Seinfeld.
The voice-over work, by the way, is really poorly done. The guy doing Alex’s voice must have had the microphone practically inside his mouth while he was reading his lines.
At first, this raised suspicious that perhaps the original soundtrack was lost or damaged after filming was complete (as in Manos: Hands of Fate) or that all the voices were dubbed in later to save money (as in any film directed by Doris Wishman). But, no, this isn’t the case, because when other actors talk around him, they all sound normal (The volume of Alex’s voice doesn’t even come close to matching the voices of any of the other actors). But, as we’ll see later, this overdubbing is part of the "plot", such as it is.
Alex tells his thug to stay put as he gets out of the car. We see he’s carrying a briefcase. Three guesses what’s in it.
He walks down some stairs with his face concealed by shadows the entire time. When he gets to the bottom a big black guy with lots of gold chains and carrying a military style rifle stops him. This is Nicky, and he talks with a Jamaican accent for no particular reason. Nicky says he’s here to escort Alex to where "the deal" will "go down". Apparently this deal is "going down" just one flight of stairs down, but it’s a good thing Nicky was there to provide an escort, huh?
Along the way, Nicky asks Alex what’s in the briefcase. "The stuff," Alex replies. Woah, slow down with all this hip drug lingo, guys.
Nicky wonders aloud if Alex has a gun in the briefcase. I don’t know, wouldn’t it be a better idea to actually check inside Alex’s briefcase? Or maybe even frisk Alex? Of course, Nicky does neither, which is all rather convenient for Alex, which we’ll see in just a minute.
They walk into a room where Alex greets another man, who goes by the name of, I kid you not, "Speedo". Speedo talks with an Australian accent, thus adhering closely to the Bad Movie Rule that all drug dealing thugs must speak with foreign accents.
Alex opens his briefcase, revealing several bags of a white powder that is presumably cocaine. Nicky proclaims it’s "pretty as white can be, mon!" At this point, the voiceover on Alex gets even worse. It sounds like the guy doing the voice was really doped up on painkillers that day. Hey, pal, if it helped you get you through reading these lines, more power to you.
Alex informs Nicky and Speedo that at the airport, they had "dogs, sniffing up and down. Very unsettling." Leaving me to wonder about any drug-sniffing dogs that couldn’t detect this much cocaine in a simple suitcase.
As drug dealers always do (at least in movies), they all start snorting the stuff to see if it’s "pure". Personally, I’ve never dealt drugs, but this just doesn’t seem wise. I mean, Nicky just wondered aloud a minute ago if Alex had a gun, for heaven’s sake. You’d think he’d want to stay focused and alert, just in case he does. If he really wants to verify the purity, let Speedo snort the stuff, or just bring along some random junkie to do it.
Well, as expected, this proves to be Nicky’s downfall. Alex takes a gun out of his waistband and shoots Nicky in the back of the head. I bet Nicky’s sorry he didn’t frisk Alex now, huh?
We cut to Speedo, who’s looking rather nonchalant about this whole "my partner just got his brains blown out" thing. He pulls out a gun and demands Alex’s weapon. From the looks of things, it appears Alex and Speedo were both in on this together, because now Alex asks for "the cash". Wow, what a twist, huh?
Speedo, however, is quite adamant about Alex giving up his gun first. So Alex hands over his gun, and Speedo goes to the other side of the room to retrieve a trunk. Speedo refers to the trunk as "a safe", but frankly it looks a lot more like a big plastic box with a padlock on it. Or maybe it’s just me.
At the same time, Alex is taking a power saw out from under the bags of cocaine. So, let me get this straight. Speedo didn’t trust Alex to have a gun, but the notion of him holding a potentially dangerous tool like a power saw is okay? Again, this will become rather convenient for Alex in just a moment.
Speedo wants Alex to use the saw to cut through the lock, but honestly, I think he’d have better luck just cutting through the plastic.
Anyway, inside the "safe" are a whole bunch of really fake-looking hundred dollar bills. I mean, really fake. They’re not even green, and they’re shiny, like they were printed on glossy paper. I know this isn’t an American production (it was filmed in the Channel Islands, as the closing credits will inform us later), but was it so hard to find a prop designer that had actually seen a hundred dollar bill? By the way, get used to seeing these props, folks, because the filmmakers are going to get a lot of use out of them in the coming scenes.
Speedo eagerly hovers over the money, practically licking his lips. Meanwhile, Alex is standing right behind him, still holding the power saw. We cut back to Speedo looking greedy, then back to Alex with the saw. This goes on far too long for us not to know what’s coming next. As expected, Alex jams the saw behind Speedo’s ear, and we get a charming shot of Speedo’s blood spurting across the ceiling.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Alex would act like he and Speedo were in on this together. I mean, Alex was just going to kill Speedo anyway. Why did he keep Speedo around long enough to get a good look at the money? I mean, does it really take two guys to cut through a cheap padlock?
It’s a bad sign in a movie when you haven’t even reached the opening credits and already your head is hurting.
Speaking of opening credits, that’s what we get next, after an "artful" cut from Speedo’s blood spurting on the ceiling to a shot of a cue ball striking several red billiard balls.
Now we’re a generic pool hall, and an even more generic blues-rock tune plays behind the credits. During these credits are where we are informed that Cameron Mitchell is a "special guest star", despite the fact that he has about zero impact on the plot. I fear this was the filmmaker’s attempt to get a "name" star to appear in their low-budget fiasco, much like how Jerry Warren gave John Carradine top billing in the aforementioned Frankenstein Island.
Finally, the camera comes to rest on Frank Stallone shooting pool, as he sinks ball after ball. This lets us know he’s the "hero" of this film, because, you know, he’s really good at pool.
In walks Jane Badler, wearing a big white suit. A really, really big white suit. They take great care to show that Frank immediately notices her, but how could he not? The shoulders on this suit are huge. I mean, remember that Talking Heads video where they all wore those big suits? Picture that, and you’re close to imagining what Jane Badler wears in this scene.
Jane walks up to the bar, and we see that Cameron Mitchell is the bartender. He pours a drink and she drops a rather fake-looking dollar bill on the bar. Hmmm, that prop looks a little familiar, doesn’t it?
We cut back to Frank, who has just won his pool game. He relieves his opponent of a big stack of cash. These, too, also appear to be some of the bills used in the first scene with Alex and Speedo. Recycling is good for the environment, right?
A guy walks up to the bar and hits on Jane. She gets up in a huff and goes to another part of the bar and sits down behind a table. When we change angles, however, the table has disappeared, and Frank is standing there instead. Nice continuity, guys.
Frank offers to get Jane a cup of coffee. You see, he didn’t offer her something alcoholic, because, as stated before, he’s the "hero" of this film. He’s great at pool and a perfect gentleman.
Jane refuses and storms out. As she leaves, we see that the bar is creatively named "Frank’s". After a moment, Frank follows and, with his eagle eye, spots her in the parking lot across the street. Actually, given the size and color of her dress, Stevie Wonder could probably spot her at that distance.
Finally he catches up with her, telling her to go home and get some sleep. (He’s strangely out of breath for someone who’s been mildly jogging for all of 10 seconds.) Jane says she can’t go home, and adds, "You don’t want to get involved." She’s right, I don’t want to get involved, but I’ve already started writing this review, and it’s too late to back out now.
She doesn’t want a cab, so Frank offers to give her a ride home. Amazingly, Jane gets in Frank’s car and even tells Frank her address. Later on, we’ll learn this is for "plot" reasons, and I’m using that term loosely.
Here’s where we learn the amount of thought that went into naming the characters. Jane Badler’s character is named "Jade", and Frank Stallone’s character is named "Frank". Look, when you’re working with a Stallone, it helps to keep things as simple as possible.