68 Kill Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Scream Factory
Directed by Trent Haaga
Written by Trent Haaga (screenplay) and Bryan Smith (novel)
2017, 93 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on January 9th, 2018
Matthew Gray Gubler as Chip
Anna-Lynne McCord as Liza
Alisha Boe as Violet
Sheila Vand as Monica
Sam Eldson as Dwayne
68 Kill is a crazy and unexpected tale that rapidly ventures into uncharted territory, so my synopsis will be brief. Suffice it to say that our lovesick hero Chip is a pushover for the ladies, starting with his girlfriend Liza. She dreams of a better life for the two of them and may have found a way to make a quick financial score. Chip is willing to go along with her scheme, understanding that nobody will get hurt. Liza proves to be far more aggressive than expected and her willingness to take things to the next level catches Chip off guard. Murder leads to kidnapping, which leads to a whole lot more and audiences are in for quite the ride. Not everything works, but there is no shortage of creative energy on display, which will leave viewers more than a little satisfied.
Writer/director Trent Haaga (Chop) delivers a fast-paced thriller filled with adult language, graphic violence, nudity, strong bloody content and more than a few unexpected laugh-out-loud moments of insanity. There’s a lot going on here and Haaga wastes no time in setting the tone of the picture. His characters are well-realized and dialogue is more hit than miss, but there are a few bumps in the road. Based on the novel of the same name by Bryan Smith, 68 Kill is a feminist spin on classic Grindhouse cinema themes. Haaga works closely with cinematographer Needham B. Smith to create a super-stylized, hyper-violent world to race through. This is an instant qualifier for designated midnight-movie status and is certain to develop a ravenous fan base. The dialogue is frequently over the top and the bloodshed is often times nasty, both of which add to the picture’s allure.
Matthew Gray Gubler (Excision) stars as Chip, the goofy boob with a good heart caught in a string of bad situations, doing his best to stay afloat over a chaotic 48 hours. It is fun watching him evolve from pushover to hero as women repeatedly kick his ass with ease. The real star however is Anna-Lynne McCord (Scorned) as Liza. She is strong, unflappable and wildly aggressive and she commands every minute of her screen time. The picture sags in her absence but easily recovers with her return. McCord makes some terrific choices as an actor here, making her character compelling to watch. Alisha Boe (Paranormal Activity 4) is her polar opposite as the sweet and lovable Violet. She has an angelic face, which makes some of her saltier dialogue all the funnier. One of the most striking characters is Monica, the Goth chick with her own ideas on how best to spend Chip’s money. Sheila Vand (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) brings a unique approach to the character that keeps audiences intrigued with the possibilities of what she will do next.
Trent Haaga may be better known as a writer (Cheap Thrills) and actor (the Killjoy franchise), but with 68 Kill he firmly establishes himself as a director too. His approach to the material is effective without ever coming off heavy-handed or preachy. At its heart, the tale is a look at the class struggle in America that explores the depths to which people will sink for a little bit of money. Violence is the currency and blood is the binding element that keeps things spinning here and Haaga seldom misses a beat. The picture easily holds up upon repeat viewings and plays better with a crowd, so do yourself a favor and check out this fun times flick with a couple of friends. You’ll be glad you did.
Video and Audio:
Presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the picture receives a strong transfer. Black levels are solid and colors are vibrant and there is plenty of small object detail.
Both a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track and a DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix are solid options here, though I prefer the former. This is a very active mix with a lot going on between dialogue and music levels. Everything is well-balanced and the surround channels are given a thorough workout.
Optional English and Spanish subtitles are included for anyone in need.
The only special feature is the theatrical trailer.
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