The Killing Machine (2010)
By: Devon B. on August 11, 2013 | Comments
Icon | Region Free | 1.78:1, 1080p | English DTS HD MA 5.1 | 88 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Dolph Lundgren
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Stefanie von Pfetten, Samantha Ferris, David Lewis
Screenplay: Raul Inglis
Country: Canada
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It might seem that by calling his movie Dolph Lundgren is The Killing Machine, Dolph is muscling in on Steven Seagal's thing. It's a little different because Stevie leaves the "Steven Seagal is" out of the actual title, we all just know it's meant to be there. It wasn't Dolph's intention to enter Stevie's title domain, the movie was originally meant to be called Icarus, and while it still could be "Dolph Lundgren is" Icarus, it's not quite so obvious as actually having the movie called Dolph Lundgren is The Killing Machine in the opening titles. Dolph himself wasn't fond of the retitling, but then evidently there was a lot about The Killing Machine he didn't like.

In the film, Dolph is a guy recently separated from his wife, trying to find his way after losing his spouse and daughter. Also, he's a KGB trained killing machine, with the codename Icarus. He works as an assassin, but he's getting worn out and after his latest hit things get suspicious with his employers. Dolph struggles to balance the issues in his private life and the troubles with his job, but the problems collide and he has to find a way to protect the remnants of his family. The wife, learning that Dolph has been leading a double life, sure takes everything in her stride. She really doesn't seem that concerned that Dolph's a killer and now people are trying to kill him and anyone with him…like her. She must be one tough lady.

According to IMDB, Dolph only had 18 days to shoot the movie, and then the film was recut and retitled by its producers. That explains a lot, because The Killing Machine is a bit of a mess. The first indication that there's trouble a-comin' is the film starts with crappy narration. Narration is often an indicator that there were some difficulties with the film, and this is no exception. There's awkward dialogue and convenient and lazy plot devices, and the film is too earnest so it lacks the wacky charm that Dolph's movies can have. There is one good kill, but it's over very quickly. The pacing of the film is off and it is plagued by the most dreaded nemesis of an action movie – padding. Despite an over-abundance of blurry slow mo, I wouldn't call the movie incompetent, but there are moments, like when Dolph accidentally looks into the camera, that make me think the producers made mistakes while piecing together Dolph's footage.

The Killing Machine isn't necessarily bad, but it's just a bit dreary and really needed more time invested into it. I'm not sure how much better Dolph's cut would've been, but I'm betting it was more entertaining than this version.
The Disc
This wasn't an expensive movie, but it's not bad to look at. It does appear drab at times, but that may have been intentional. There're a few spots and there's a little macroblocking, but the detail is quite strong and the image does pop at times. The original aspect ratio is 2.35:1, but I would guess the matte has been opened up rather than the image was cropped. There're two audio options, but both are front heavy mixes, even in terms of how the score sounds. The surrounds do kick in occasionally, and the track picks up its game a bit later in the film, but overall they both sound more like a 2.0 than a 5.1 mix. The sound did go out of synch once, so there may have been some careless ADR work, but then Dolph stumbles over a line like he was Van Damme and they didn't use ADR to correct that, so maybe the audio really did just skip. The tracks seemed fairly similar, but the TrueHD one was a bit quieter and I thought the DTS-HD Master Audio track was a touch stronger and clearer.

Trailers play on start up for Go Fast and District 13: Ultimatum.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
I really like Dolph, but even he couldn't keep my interest in this lacklustre thriller. The film feels like a low budget knock off, and it's just not as good as it could be. I'm sure the director's cut is an improvement, but even as originally intended the movie probably couldn't overcome the sloppiness caused by the rushed filming.
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