Usually the films Arrow Video releases are cult cinema that has some kind of artistic merit to them. Not so with Hired to Kill. This one is just balls to the wall silly fun and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Starring George “I’ve won Oscars but I need a paycheck” Kennedy, Oliver “No one will hire me anymore” Reed, and Brian “The bad guy from Cobra & The X-Files” Thompson and directed by the guy that did the notorious video nasty Island of Death, I knew this would be interesting.
Brian Thompson plays a mercenary hired by George Kennedy to infiltrate a small country and help the rebels there overthrow the villainous dictator played by a bushy mustached Oliver Reed. Ready to assemble his dream team of elite killers, Kennedy tells him this time it will be different. He has to get seven beautiful women who are also deadly and pose as a fashion photographer, the seven being his models. This way Oliver Reed will get a boner and allow them into the country. Thompson doesn’t like it. He apparently doesn’t like ladies but begrudgingly agrees. What follows is a Seven Samurai-esque recruiting montage followed by training montages followed by fashion montages followed by shooting-the-bad-guys montages. It’s awesome.
The bulk of the middle of the film is pretty flabby, unlike Brian Thompson’s washboard stomach. Much of the run time features the women in various outfits being photographed and prancing around, when they aren’t arguing or fighting poolside. It didn’t bother me though because the middle, like the rest of the film, is filled with macho silly lines spouted by any and all characters. The first twenty minutes or so had me grinning from ear to ear, and admittedly the grin drooped a bit in the middle but perked up by the end. It’s a silly film made in Greece starring legitimate actors being asked to say very silly things. What’s not to love? Sure this isn’t a pantheon bad flick but it is a lot of fun and I would give it another spin with friends. I mean who doesn’t love seeing Oliver Reed sporting a Super Mario mustache being kissed by Brian Thompson? It’s like the most macho man-kiss ever filmed. Thompson pretends to be gay so that he can’t be “infiltrated” by one of Reed’s spies. Thompson does do some infiltrating of his own later in the film with one of the rebels though.
Hired to Kill is one of those inoffensive, silly action films made in the late 80’s/early 90’s that feature bad fashion, hilarious dialogue, and cheesy action. Throw in some legendary scenery chewing actors and you’ve got yourself a fun night. It’s not a typical film for Arrow Video but maybe that’s what’s great about them, you never can tell what they’re going to release next. The film has been lovingly restored and yet it still sports a washed out bland color palette but I believe it’s just an artifact of the time and place it was made. The blu features new interviews with the director and Brian Thompson which are fun.