- Directed by Ara Paiaya
- May 2, 2017
A Special Forces veteran seeks revenge when a drug war hits home.
Originally I came into Instant Death (retitled ‘Rage’) very excited while understanding this was not going to be a high dollar production. Some understanding would be needed. I am good with cheap so long as those behind it are putting a sincere effort forward.
This film stars Lou Ferrigno-the man who played the Incredible Hulk reportedly because a then unknown Schwarzenegger was too small. I am old enough to remember the live action Incredible Hulk series and I have a soft spot for Ferrigno so that is the main reason I picked this up. If it had been anybody else maybe not. I will say the man is in fantastic shape for his age, but he is definitely no action hero. For example his attempt at a steely look has all the intimidation of a man constipated.
But the issues with this film go deeper than his inability to get his character to come off as tough. Much deeper. The story of Instant Death kind of meanders along. The direction is poor making the film is slow and stiff. And the dialogue is clunky to the point of feeling adlibbed. And continuity within a scene might not actually occur.
Ferrigno stars as Special Forces veteran John Bradley whose daughter gets caught up in some kind of drug war in this supposed thriller. And I use the term “thriller” loosely. Thrills are not Instant Death’s strong point. Did the director Ara Paiaya actually direct or did he just film some random shit and hope to get a story out of it by slapping clips together? This movie appears to begin in the US but abruptly jumps across the ocean.
Instant Death was slow and disjointed. And our hero kind of stumbles into the whole situation and lumbers through a few incidental villains to the chief bad guy. Lou Ferrigno really showed his age here as John Bradley. This is an action movie, but his moves are insanely slow for the genre. He is supposed to be this unstable Special Forces guy that is better than the best, but he moves like he has arthritis and does not know who to attack.
And how exactly is this American Special Forces vet connected to the equally geriatric British Special Forces Col. Neal (Michael James MacMahon)? While they are both a type of Special Forces, neither one served in the same military. Neal’s only purpose is to spout ominous lines about how dangerous John is and wear cheap looking uniforms that poorly fit. They raided a costume shop for this and did not even bother to iron their purchase.
And that granddaughter was such an incidental character. I do not think they even used her name. I am completely drawing a blank on it. She shows up for one scene to establish her existence and then in another scene you get to watch when she is killed by the villain. And the villain’s name? Bonus points if you can recall it from memory. How can you make a movie that is so forgettable?
Her mother Jane (Tania Staite), John’s daughter, is done a little better and her name even gets used a few times. She is apparently a single mom living somewhere in the UK. It is supposed to be London, but this could be any old apartment building anywhere really. This movie is so cheap that stock footage for establishing purposes was outside the budget.
I find this reminiscent of the recent Bruce Willis formula of filmmaking. What am I talking about? In a Bruce Willis movie they film the bulk of the movie with the no name actors and then film the necessary footage with Willis separate from everything else. There might be some shots for continuity purposes using a body double, but the marquee name rarely interacts with the rest of the cast.
Characterization is awful in this film. And that is being extremely kind. There is no emotional connection between John and Jane or John and the granddaughter or even the deceased mother and daughter. Nobody comes off as having any real emotional connection. People on a bus have a stronger bond than anybody in this movie. My bond with the self-checkout at the store was more significant than anything a character had with another here.
I was also left with the feeling that at least in the beginning of the film there was some type of connection between the villain and Bradley. I am not sure why, but I was left with that impression. The dialogue seemed to indicate it but it never came to fruition. Did the connection get left on the cutting room floor or was the script that poorly written and edited that either a plot point was poorly communicated or not thoroughly edited out?
John Bradley is unstable and a well-trained killer who worked for the government in some vague capacity killing people. The talk implies it was for the US Army but what occurs in the movie implies it was for the British government. I think they took a page from the director of Virtuosity and were winging it here. I am talking the whole movie.
Instant Death is not good. Words cannot explain just how much of a turd it is. Avoid this!