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Angel of Death [Import]
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From creator ED BRUBAKER and in the style of Grindhouse! Eve (ZOË BELL) is a sexy assassin who kills without remorse - until one botched hit changes everything. Caught off guard, Eve is stabbed in the head and inadvertently murders a young girl. The blade is removed, but the damage is done: Eve's mind is now filled with visions of past victims. The hunter becomes the haunted and this killing machine is plagued with remorse. Unable to "work," this mob asset has become a liability. Eve's only chance to survive is to track down her ruthless bosses before their new hitman finds her.
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You have a standard (and completely unbelievable in the beginning) story of a hit woman turning the tables and killing all of those she worked for in the past. This change of heart stems from having a 12" blade stuck in her brain, but hey - this is entertainment not reality. The stunts are good, the film look is average to grainy throughout, and the acting painful at times. But what makes this (especially for the fans) are the special features.
Making of: 30 minutes covering all that went into the production outside of the focused features following.
Casting Zoe: 15 minutes of the thoughts and process behind having her be the one.
Writing Brubaker: 15 minutes catering to the fans of his and why he does what he does.
Behind the Stunts: 16 minutes (my favorite) about the real work horses and brains behind how they created and pulled off the stunts in this.
Zoe Screen Test: 3 minutes of her trying to act without kicking the crud out of someone.
Eve's Tips: Several 30-second Webisodes entailing how one can go about trying to kill like she can.
Overall, one thing the creators mentioned in these documentaries that I thought of the most in rating this, is that the movie is supposed to be entertaining without trying to be something above a B movie - and in that case they succeeded. Two and a half stars for the film, one and a half stars for the supplements.
The storyline mixes up the vengeance/vendetta themes of similar movies in a clever way, and I liked the central character's response to her own feelings about the terrible things she had done. I originally gave this 3 stars, but after reflection I think it's worth 4, despite a few short comings in the lead's performance.
The story: Eve (Bell) is the archetypal assassin - deadly, efficient, and utterly remorseless - but when a job gone bad and leaves her with a knife blade in her head, a haunted conscience is forced upon her, urging her to unravel a web of organized crime and take down the figures responsible for mass pain and suffering.
If you've seen the trailer for the film, the knife-in-the-head scene undoubtedly caught your eye, and I'm happy to say that that kind of grittiness is persistent throughout the film. It's not a gore flick, but action director Ron Yuan (Black Dynamite) wrangles some remarkable moments of realistic hand-to-hand violence between Eve and her opponents. This is where Zoe Bell's expertise as a stuntwoman comes in: sure, it's great to see an actress tae kwon doing somebody in the face, but to see her thrown up against walls, flung down stairs, and slammed against the ground repeatedly - with her face in clear sight - is a rare bit of practicality that we don't get to see very often and instantly distinguishes Bell from, say, Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil. She's like an old-school Cynthia Rothrock without the wires - tough-as-nails and legitimately entertaining to watch in action - and it will be a Hollywood tragedy if she doesn't get many more prime roles like this one.
The film runs at a slim 78 minutes in length, moving at a swift pace that allows you to enjoy its strengths and glance over its weaknesses - namely, a few underdeveloped main characters (like Jake Abel from Percy Jackson & The Olympians as the head gangster and Vail Bloom of "The Young and the Restless" as his two-faced sister) and storyline tangents (e.g. Eve's romance with her employer, the black book). The movie goes for a comic book-style presentation that is neither very effective nor detracting from the overall look. The supporting cast is strong, with Brian Poth (C.S.I. Miami) doing well as Eve's employer, Doug Jones (Pan's Labyrinth) proving himself entertaining even without a ton of makeup, and Ingrid Rogers (Carlito's Way) and Lucy Lawless make promising cameos.
Despite its smooth production, "Angel of Death" still feels like a pretty small movie, albeit one with a lot of potential to build on. Chances are that it's not going to knock you down or become your new favorite movie, but it deserves recognition for being a lot more solid than a lot of what's being put onto the DTV market right now. If you like seeing kickbutt in general, pick it up for something out of the ordinary and I'll be surprised if you end up disappointed.
But as the other reviewer notes, if you watch it knowing it's a "B" flick, you can turn off your brain and simply enjoy one of Hollywood's finest stuntwomen.
I understand that she is/was the top action stunt woman(?). Did all the stunts for Uma Thurman in the Kill Bill series and many others(?) Her non-action acting is good, believable. I'd enjoy seeing her in some other movies (besides just stunts).
So, I like this movie/Zoe Bell and have watched it more than once. If you want to see world-class Female physical action (not sex), give this a watch.