Killing Machine, The (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 17-Nov-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Trailer-Icon Trailers
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 88:10
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Dolph Lundgren
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Dolph Lundgren
Stefanie von Pfetten
Samantha Ferris
David Lewis
Lindsay Maxwell
John Tench
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $44.95 Music James Jandrisch


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Eddie (Dolph Lundgren) was a KGB hit man, code name Icarus, who went undercover in Canada with a wife Joey (Stephanie von Pfetten) and a young daughter Taylor (Katelyn Mager) who had no idea of his real identity. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the Russian Mafia “recruited” Eddie by threatening to kill his wife and daughter. Now divorced, Eddie’s handler Serge (John Tench) sets up a hit in Hong Kong that Eddie successfully completes. However, for some reason on his return to Canada Eddie himself, and his family, becomes a target for assassination. He needs to defend himself, protect his family and find out just who is behind the contract on his life. As the bodies pile up, can he trust crime boss Kerr (Samantha Ferris)? Who is the mysterious Mr. Graham (David Lewis) who seems to know a lot about Eddie? And what role is Vadim (Bo Svenson), his old Russian college, playing?

     The Killing Machine aka Icarus aka Dolph Lundgren is The Killing Machine is a by the numbers thriller, directed by and staring Dolph Lundgren. The plot is confused to say the least, with motivation and conduct seemingly put together at random. Gunman just appear, characters get short shift, such as Eddie’s new girlfriend April (Lindsay Maxwell), and just after watching her new boyfriend get murdered before her eyes, Joey shoots a man and jumps into bed with Eddie without another thought. And if the CIA really does want to take out the Russian mafia, there are easier ways than blackmailing an old KGB operative to do it. Don’t they have funding for this type of thing?

     The patchy nature of the script is exacerbated by the direction. The Killing Machine utilises lots of jerky, hand held camera work, flashy camera angles and quick edits which distance the viewer and it is left up to a voiceover, that refuge of weak scriptwriters, to tell us what is going on. Indeed, the fight scenes are filmed so chaotically it is mostly too difficult to tell what is happening.

     The acting is not particularly riveting: Dolph Lundgren who appears in basically every scene is wooden, to say the least, although Samantha Ferris makes the best of her lines. However, in its defence The Killing Machine never pretends to be high art. It is a mindless action film and if you just forget the lack of plot and characterisation and go with the flow there are worse ways to spend 88 minutes. Maybe the real reason the film was made was to allow Dolph Lundgren to have love scenes with a couple of women half his age. Nice work if you can get it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Killing Machine is presented in a ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio is given by the IMDb as 2.35:1, and there are DVD and Blu-ray releases in this ratio. The film was made in conjunction with Canadian television and it has seldom been released theatrically, certainly not in Australia where it has gone straight to DVD and Blu-ray. So while this is in the incorrect ratio, this is not a film with widescreen vistas; while scenes do look cropped, there is not a massive loss of needed information. .

     Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with the print. A lot of the film seems to have been treated with a yellow / brown filter, and this does affect the colours, which seem flat, and skin tones. This seems to have been a choice of the filmmakers so is not a Blu-ray authoring issue. Blacks, shadow detail, contract and brightness are good. Other than aliasing on buildings (19:52) there are no obvious artefacts.

     There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice of English DTS HD MA and Dolby Digital True HD. The DTS does a reasonable job without being exceptional. Dialogue is clear and the gunshots, other effects and music occur frequently in the surrounds. The subwoofer mainly supported the music as there are only a couple of explosions in the film.

     The music score by James Jandrisch, plus a couple of heavy metal tracks by Reese, support the film well without being memorable.

    Lip Synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are no extras, unless one counts the forced trailers when the Blu-ray starts totalling 2:54 for Go Fast and D13 Ultimatum.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The French Region B Blu-ray and Region 2 DVD are in the correct aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and include a “Making of” featurette (22:41), trailers and a theatrical trailer, whereas the German Region B Blu-ray is in the same ratio as ours. The Region 1 US DVD is also in the correct ratio, with the same “making of”, but I cannot at this time find details of a Region A US Blu-ray release.

Summary

     The Killing Machine from director / star Dolph Lundgren never pretends to be high art. It is a mindless, by the numbers action film but if you just forget the lack of plot and characterisation and go with the flow there are worse ways to spend 88 minutes.

     The Killing Machine has reasonably audio and video, although in the incorrect aspect ratio, and no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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