Hired to Kill Blu-ray Review from Arrow Video

Hired to Kill (1990) Arrow Video Blu-ray Review

 

Mercenary, Frank Ryan, played by Brian Thompson (Cobra, X-Files) is a no frills badass that doesn’t take shit from anyone. He is hired by an old associate, played by George Kennedy (Naked Gun, Cool Hand Luke), to lead a team to travel to Cypra and rescue a prisoner. This mission is unlike any other mission that frank has carried out; he will have to pose as a gay fashion designer and his team will be seven lethal ladies posing Hired to Killas fashion models. When Frank and his team arrive they are faced with a rather unusual and ruthless leader, Michael Baratos, played by Oliver Reed (Venom, The Brood). Together, Frank and his team reap chaos on all whom cross them.

Every time I watch a Nico Mastorakis movie he moves up a few places on my list of favorite directors. This movie has everything you could want in an early 90’s over the top action flick. It has a freakishly muscly leading man who frequently isn’t wearing a shirt, lots of guns, nudity and explosions, and some insanely ridiculous lines. There is also Oliver Reed, with one of the best mustaches in the history of cinema.

This movie really puts a spotlight on the fact that Brian Thompson should have stared in more cheesy action pictures. He really shines in the role and it would have been great to see him mugging in the lead of action films. The movie also highlights Nico Mastorakis’ ability to make the best of every penny of his relatively small budget. Granted this is a larger budget than Mr. Mastorakis was used to, it wasn’t much imagescompared to more popular action movies of the era. And even with the non-stellar budget, he managed to make it look as good as movies with twice the money.

Another thing I like about this movie is how they handled Frank Ryan pretending to be gay. They really could have played it as offensive but Instead of him acting like a stereotypical effeminate gay guy, he was just gay. He acted the same as before but now he just pretended to like men. The only time his homosexuality comes into play is an incredible scene with Oliver Reed, where they end up kissing. So I give props to Mr. Mastorakis for keeping it classy.

hiredblu00004As we’ve become accustom to, Arrows new 2K restoration of the film looks incredible. The restoration was approved by Mr. Mastorakis so I guess we can expect great quality. The blu-ray also features an audio commentary with the editor of the film, Barry Zeltin, an interview with Brian Thompson, the film trailer, still gallery, reversible cover sleeve, original screenplay and a fully illustrated booklet with new writing by critic James Oliver. But of all the special features, by far the best is “Hired to Direct” which is an almost half hour long featurette of Nico Mastorakis talking about the making of the film. The featurette is very informative and interesting and you really get the idea of how much he cares about his films. I really could watch Mr. Mastorakis talk about his movies all day.

This movie is a must for any fan of cheesy action movies, Nico Mastorakis or Arrow Video because it really showcases all three areas. I really hope that Arrow continues to release more of Nico Mastorakis’ movies and it’d be really swell if they did a box set with some of his lesser-known titles and included an entire bonus disc of interviews with him. So go buy a copy and watch it ASAP.

 

-DeadRat

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The Zero Boys. Arrow Video Blu-ray Review

The Zero Boys (1986) Arrow Video Blu-ray (2016) 

Directed by: Nico Mastorakis

Starring: Kelli Maroney, Daniel Hirsch, Tom Shell & Nicole Rio

The Zero Boys are ragtag group of paintballers who take their sport very seriously. The film opens with a very dramatic battle scene between The Zero Boys and their rivals in a staged battleground. After their glorious victory, The Zero Boys and their female companions head to the the_zero_boyswoods for a bit of drinking, practice and relaxation. Just as they start settling in, one of them sees a girl running through the woods and the group goes to investigate. They come across a creepy cabin and soon they realize that they will be facing off against their deadliest enemy yet.

I love Nico Mastorakis first film, Island of Death, but I had never seen The Zero Boys. The films are very different and if you go into this thinking you’re going to get Island of Death than you’ll be disappointed. That being said, this movie was great. I knew nothing about the movie before I started watching it and based on the main menu on the Blu-ray I was expecting an action movie so when the slashing began I 1461524731_2was pumped. The movie is almost Red Dawn meets Friday the 13th and yes, that’s as awesome as it sounds. There is almost no blood in the movie yet still manages to be quite brutal. The acting is also above par for this sort of flick. It’s nothing great but it’s not the usual crap you come to expect from 80s slasher movies. Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet) is not surprisingly the best of the protagonist and Joe Estevez (Beach Babes from Beyond) plays a really great psycho.

As for the special features, there’s a brand new 2K restoration of the film, approved by writer-director Nico Mastorakis. The transfer is good,
but not great. Most of the move is clear and sharp but then there are scenes which are very grainy. If it was consistently grainy than it wouldn’t be as bad but the stark contrast between the scenes can be somewhat distracting. There is an audio commentary with star Kelli Maroney, 1461524731_1moderated by Shock Till You Drop’s Chris Alexander which I will most definitely be listening to in the near future. The best special feature is, Nico Mastorakis on… Nico Mastorakis, which is Mr. Mastorakis interviewing himself. It’s a little under a half hour long and it is as informative as it is bizarre. There are also brand new interviews with stars Kelli Maroney and Nicole Rio. And then we have the usual theatrical trailer, stills gallery, fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver and reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys.

This release is definitely worth your time and money. Mastorakis is rapidly becoming one of my favorite directors and hopefully Arrow will continue their great treatment of his movies.


-DeadRat

Episode V

Episode V

On this weeks episode Vincent and I discuss the first Israeli horror film by Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales titled Rabies, Nico Mastorakis’ Island of Death, Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s Cold Sweat and Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. We also deliver Last Rites to Luigi Cozzi’s Paganini Horror. Remember if you have any questions for us you can email us at Exorcast@gmail.com