Neither Bill Gates nor the late Steve Jobs looked like Bruce Willis in Hard Kill who plays Chalmers, a billionaire tech CEO with a perfectly smooth head and scowling face and increasingly looking like an irritated ping pong ball as he gets older. With his daughter Ava (Lala Kent) kidnapped , Chalmers hires a small group of mercenaries led by Miller (Jesse Metcalfe) to get her back from another ex-military man gone rogue and all of them only able to pronounce Mogadishu as Mog-a-deee-shoo. Hard Kill starts with a firearms fire fight in a disused warehouse where Miller, purportedly being the best in the business hides from a hail of semi automatic firepower by using an MDF tabletop. It’s a scene pointlessly bought forward from later in the film before director Matt Eskandari to the start of the story with Ava delivering a pocket sized bit of hi-tech kit to a character called The Pardoner (Sergio Rizzuto) but as he needs Chalmers password it is Ava who winds up being kidnapped not realising that the pantomime villain wants to unleash hell by downloading the computer programme onto the world’s PC’s.
Based almost entirely in a huge derelict warehouse Hard Kill uses the location for a variety of shoot outs and action scenes but this is low budget stuff which shouldn’t be any restriction to a decent film and Reservoir Dogs and The Raid showed how good one can be. The script however has generic cut and paste dialogue where lousy line’s abound and a bad film bingo card would probably get you a full house when lines such as, ‘You leave her out of this!’ and another stating the obvious as one character draws a floor plan of the warehouse, one of the mercenaries says,’ So you’re drawing all this from memory?’ It’s one of several face slap moments and incredibly Marvel Man Joe Russo had a hand in the script! These are a particularly unconvincing bunch of mercenaries who look more like they spent a day at a boot camp run by Call of Duty gamers and actors include a model, a wrestler and someone whose name is Texas Battle and with all the cast aspiring to be mediocre and failing.
Eskandari could have raised ‘Hard Kill’ from its generic action roots with some inspired set pieces and with films like John Wick and Extraction raising the bar high this is left looking anaemic and trailing far behind. Perhaps the biggest disappointment here is that Bruce Willis continues his downhill straight to bargain bin dvd journey with an increasing catalogue of films that don’t, and in many cases rightly so, get theatrical releases. It’s a career trajectory of other action hard men Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal (who seems to have focussed his efforts on doubling his body weight if his recent films are anything to go by). It’s little wonder that Willis is looking to start work on Die Hard 6 because in the words of many school reports, Hard Kill, ‘could do better’……much, much better.
Here’s the Hard Kill trailer…….