Kill ‘Em All Blu-ray Review
Somewhere in Bangkok, away from the busy streets, a group of individuals have been drugged and locked inside of a small, windowless room called the Killer Chamber. There’s the assassin Schmidt; The Kid, who landed his first kill at 14; greedy ex-legionnaire Loomis Cartier; knives and gun lover Som (Ammara Siripong), who is also the only woman; the hot-headed Black Scorpion; veteran killer Carpenter (Joe Lewis); suicidal explosives expert Gabriel (Johnny Messner); and young assassin Mickey, who may or may not be mentally disabled.
But their names or backgrounds don’t matter. What does is that, at the demand of a voice behind a security camera and loudspeaker, the individuals will face off in brutal matches—the sole survivor of which will be allowed to leave the room. Victors of each round are granted access to the Weapon Chamber, where they get their choice of sword or some other such device meant to aid them. Should they refuse to fight or play by their own rules, the voice will gas them or send in ninjas to—you guessed it—kill ‘em all.
Because writer Ken Miller (the six-part BBC compilation STOP! KUNG FU!) knows that containing the movie in one room could get stale fast, he lets a few of the contestants loose in the damp interiors of the warehouse to face off against several dozen hired killers, all of whom are fully stocked with blades but are just as unqualified and disposable as Shredder’s Foot Soldiers. (The voice, it turns out, belongs to the highly skilled Snakehead, played by Gordon Liu, a prolific Chinese martial arts actor but best known to Western audiences as Pai Mei in Quentin Tarantino’s KILL BILL.)
The action-packed first ten minutes of KILL ‘EM ALL set the tone for the viewer, who, when the runtime expires, will likely have lost count of how many hand-to-hand (and foot-to-head) combats there are and won’t have an accurate tally of the number of snapped necks, broken legs and pummeled faces. There is plenty of action throughout, and the staging and camerawork (the two biggest pluses of KILL ‘EM ALL) that get each fight from start to finish are strong. But the movie, directed by Raimund Huber (2009’s BANGKOK ADRENALINE), refuses to offer much other than what would be found in any MORTAL KOMBAT-type video game. It doesn’t help, either, that Sub-Zero, Scorpion and Jax make for more colorful characters than Som, Gabriel and Carpenter.
The biggest problem of KILL ‘EM ALL is that it can’t stand out from the rest. Aside from a catchy title and a respected face (who the viewer may not recognize if he isn’t testing The Bride’s limits or if he’s without the snow white hair, goatee and eyebrows), the movie serves little that hasn’t been seen before as far as the tournament-to-the-death subgenre goes. Even going on more than just the plot and the poster, you won’t notice any differences between KILL ‘EM ALL and BANGKOK BEATDOWN.
Video: 16:9 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Since much of the movie takes place in damp, dark interiors, it’s no surprise that the video lacks pop. That said, there are still some positives, like the sweat and facial textures.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The best part of this Blu-ray is, without a doubt, the audio transfer. For the duration of KILL ‘EM ALL, the surround sound speakers are put to work, as every smack, thud, gunshot, and slice comes through with great power.