Icarus (Dolph Lundgren is The Killing Machine) Reviews
Dolph does what he does best here (hence...The Killing Machine), he shoots and beats people to death whilst being indestructible, just like Seagal, JCVD etc.. The plot is the usual unoriginal tale of a lone assassin who wants to leave his field of work but is dragged back in and double crossed *yawn!*. While this is a straight to DVD release its not as bad as recent Seagal offerings which have been dreadful. This is actually quite stylish with hand held cam work and gun fights that are well edited with good special effects and stunt work.
There are some nice fisticuffs through out which do look visually solid and show Dolph still retains good levels of fitness and also retains his excellent physical and facial good looks. Shame its all just very very predictable and a little dull at times, this whole genre is highly saturated with many clones so if you want your movie to stand out you gotta make sure its special. Just having Dolph as an invincible fighting force is rather redundant and dated I'm afraid, even for the biggest fanboy.
Films like this worked back in the day when these guys were a bit more unique and the cream of Hollywood action flicks. These days they just seem stale and old hat, this kinda stuff doesn't really work anymore guys, hence straight into the deep DVD bargain basement bin. Mind you this effort is much more agreeable than most and shows an attempt at some innovative action thriller filmmaking, relatively slick in parts.
Shot on a low budget of only $5 million, The Killing Machine is not afraid to show it. It never really feels like a film, and more like simply an extended episode of some television series. The cinematography is essentially the breaking point for this because the entire film is shots in a similar style used to film the CBS television series Person of Interest. For a film, The Killing Machine never really has the feel of one and comes off as seeming really cheap. But then again, considering the $5 million budget and direct to DVD status of the film, it is in fact a cheap production. The cinematography is what constantly reminds viewers of that because everything is captured in such a cheap fashion, and it makes the action refrain from being that exciting because everything is shot way too close up, as well as the fact that it is shaky at times and has some unbearable moments where it makes use of thoroughly poor quality cinematography. The Killing Machine was a film I watched simply in hope of some good action scenes, but that simply was not what it delivered and so it is likely to be very insufficient in pleasuring fans.
The story in The Killing Machine is thoroughly generic. It has been told so many times in countless other films that by this point it is very tiring and considering the fact that this time the project is burdened by a low budget, there is little more than can be done with it. The plot is cheaply conceived and the script is weak as well, jam packed full of cliche dialogue and predictable plot turns which seem all the more ridiculous this time around and ensure that the film fails to separate itself from any other film of its formula.
Usually, Direct to DVD Dolph Lundgren films can come off as a guilty pleasure due to having some level of fun in the film. But with The Killing Machine, there is none because Dolph Lundgren takes it way too seriously as director. The plot is weak. But Dolph Lundgren's insistence on taking everything so seriously is of no benefit to the film. The fact that The Killing Machine never realises its limitations or focuses on reaching its minimal potential is what defies it, because Dolph Lundgren takes it as too much of a legitimate project while failing to realise his limitations and the extent of his abilities. Dolph Lundgren had low ambitions when directing The Killing Machine, but I made the mistake of setting them the slightest bit high and so my disappointment in the film is all too clear to me. The Killing Machine is nothing but the cheap and boring film everyone expected it to be, and it never makes use of Dolph Lundgren's abilities such as his muscular physique or his physical fighting skills. It just puts a pistol in his had and says "shoot everybody with a suit" and there are few people dressed that way. Yet even then, the film fails to capture this well at all. In short, The Killing Machine has little action and what little it has is of poor quality, so it is a low budget failure.
Dolph Lundgren's leading performance is short on killing, but feels like a machine because he is thoroughly artificial without a hint of humour which can be found in his better cheap fun films. The film is reliant on what he can bring to the part on the basis simply of his legacy and hopes his fan base will draw in the crowds. But his fan base is limited, and they would arguably consider this one of the much more inferior films he has done. Dolly Lundgren makes use of none of his strengths in The Killing Machine because his actor is short on any humour and guys directing is poor, but worst of all you never see him using his large stature as a weapon or intimidation tactic. He relies solely on his suit, his pistol and his weak attempt at a bad guy persona. His failure is all too clear and he brings no fun to the part, so Dolph Lundgren really does nothing to help The Killing Machine get off it's already insufficient feet.
So The Killing Machine refuses to transcend the standard of low budget direct to DVD action films, and instead packs itself with too many cliche story elements, too little action and a lack of fun from the involvement of Dolph Lundgren.
It is tough for a guy of 54 years old to fight his way in this show. Love his move!
ps. In some contries it's movie title is: "Icarus", in others: "The Killing Machine". Have this in mind if/when searching for it.