Kill Me Three Times Blu-ray Review
Director Kriv Stenders would be guilty of theft if he wasn’t so obviously paying homage to Quentin Tarantino’s PULP FICTION with the non-linear storytelling featured in KILL ME THREE TIMES. Of course the unheard of writer who penned the story could be guilty of tarnishing the rashomon effect, if that was a crime. Either way, KILL ME THREE TIMES is a hodgepodge of action comedy ideas that equals to half decent bit of entertainment, but a tragedy in terms of originality.
Charlie Wolfe (Pegg), a killer-for-hire, finds himself in an ever-evolving bit of trouble. There are three conflicts that arise and they’re all connected by the tiniest of comic strings. Charlie is suave and confident at his craft, and it shows whenever he needs to eliminate someone, although he gets progressively sloppier as the movie rolls on. Pegg’s casting would imply the need for someone with comedic chops to handle humor, but very rarely is he the one in charge of dispensing jokes.
Instead the humor comes with the individual chunks of the much larger group of desperate people who are constantly plotting against one another. A lot of the humor derives from how much these people seem to loathe each other and how poorly conceived their plans to swindle each other are. There’s a rotating list of crimes against each character, including blackmail, adultery, theft, embezzlement, and a handful of petty crimes. If anything, Charlie is squeaky clean as a murderer, if we’re going by the rap sheets for each character that is.
Jack (Callan Mulvey) is a paranoid bar owner, who suspects his wife is cheating on him. So he loops in Charlie to do some digging, to see if she is. Which she is. Jack’s introduction is a jumping board for every other devious plot in the movie. His wife, Alice (Braga), is already plotting to rob him. Then there’s Jack’s sister who’s married to a gambling addict that is plotting to use Alice for their own scheme. There’s also an incompetent law enforcement figure that gets wind of one of these plots and wants to dip his hand into the immoral transactions.
Inevitably the double crossings become triple crossings, and possibly quadruple crossings. KILL ME THREE TIMES manages to handle the evolving deceptions well, even if they are contrived. The action itself is light and the comedy itself isn’t that funny. It manages to be entertaining, but without any soul. It’s a difficult movie to pin down because so much of it feels familiar. Its style is recycled, but hard to hate, but easy to nitpick.
For all the fun KILL ME THREE TIMES manages to have, it neglects to include Pegg, which is a severe miscalculation for a movie hoping to be the next PULP FICTION. Pegg has proved quintessential to the action comedy genre in his own creations as well as in the STAR TREK and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE universes. While he’s supposed to be the villain, we can’t help but root for the man. It’s just disappointing that he wasn’t given the mobility to be the memorable character we know he’s capable of being.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) A very colorful landscape comes out vibrantly on this blu-ray presentation. Everything comes through clearly.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound mixing on this movie is outstanding. Everything is well-balanced and nothing is fighting for attention.
Commentary with Director Kriv Stenders and Cinematographer Geoffrey Simpson: A lot of the talk seems to be focused on the shooting of this movie, most likely because Director Stenders is stuck with the cinematographer. Stenders spends a lot of this talking to himself.
Commentary with Director Kriv Stenders and Producers Larry Malkin, Tania Chambers and Share Stallings: Stenders is back, focusing more on other aspects of the film with the producers of KILL ME THREE TIMES. The camaraderie on this commentary feels forced and not genuine. Stenders does seem to have something new to say this time around.
The Making of KILL ME THREE TIMES (18:16): Goes over the generic behind the scenes information, offering some insight from the actors into their specific characters.
Deleted Scene: This blu-ray only offers one deleted scene which is odd since the director, in the commentary, talked about many deleted or cut scenes from the original product. This scene in particular revolves around Jack and his wife in an uncomfortable moment at the bar.
Q&A: This feature is a panel at the BFI London Film Festival. It includes the producers, Simon Pegg, and writer James McFarland. While most of the audience seems ready to eat up whatever Pegg says, I’m more interested in what the writer had to say. He didn’t say a thing.
Storyboards (5:16): A slideshow of selected storyboards. I wish more blu-rays had features like this.
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery: A feature showing 18 photos of behind the scenes moments.
Poster Gallery: A poster featuring a different character from the film. Seven altogether.
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