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Contract to Kill (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 17, 2017 by  



“Contract to Kill” may please the hardcore Steven Seagal action film fans.  But among the action films which he has starred in recent years, this film is not one of his better ones.

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Contract to Kill

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 90 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: R

RELEASE DATE: February 28, 2017


Directed by Keoni Waxman

Written by Keoni Waxman

Produced by Binh Dang, Steven Seagal, Keoni Waxman

Executive Producer: Phillip B. Goldfine, Pierre-Andre Rochat

Line Producer: Cristian Bostanescu

Music by Michael Richard Plowman

Cinematography by Trevor Mirosh

Edited by Trevor Mirosh

Casting by Dominica Circiumaru, Gillian Hawser

Production Design by Dan Toader

Set Decoration by Alina Pentac

Costume Design by Oana Draghici


Starring:

Steven Seagal as John Harmon

Russell Wong as Matthew Sharp

Jemma Dallender as Zara Hayek

Mircea Drambareanu as Jose Rivera

Sergiu Costache as Ayan Al-Mujahid

Ghassan Bouz as Abdul Rauf


When the CIA stumbles upon evidence that a dangerous group of extremists is planning to join forces with a drug cartel, CIA operative John Harmon assembles a high-tech team to turn the two groups against each other in an explosive confrontation.


Producer Keoni Waxman has collaborated with action star Steven Seagal for several films and a TV series such as “True Justice” and “Mercenary: Absolution”.

And this time around, Waxman has directed and written Seagal’s latest action film “Contract to Kill”.

The film along with Steven Seagal, also stars Russell Wong (“Romeo Must Die”, “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”) and Jemma Dallender (“I Spit on Your Grave 2”, “The Mirror”, “Community”).

And the film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 2017.

Steven Seagal plays the role of John Harmon, a former CIA agent and now a retired mechanic who is called back into service by the C.I.A. to perform an assassination on a criminal kingpin.

Because of the high stakes involved, John requests a team with two other people.  Agent Zara Hayek (portrayed by Jemma Dallender), who was trained by Harmon and had a romantic relationship with him, is his weapons expert.  While Matthew Sharp (portrayed by Russell Wong) is a communications hacker, drone specialist and martial arts expert.

The three go to Istanbul to uncover a brutal plot of Islamic extremists using Sonora drug-smuggling routes to bring in deadly weapons and their leaders into the United States.

How can Harmon take these criminal organizations down?  And is someone leaking information to the enemies before Harmon can get to him?  Is it one of his team members?  Can anyone be trusted?


VIDEO:

“Contract to Kill” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). The film features great detail on closeups but special effects, such as one scene involving kids watching a plane blow up, the quality of the visual effects was quite lacking.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Contract to Kill” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. There are action scenes that are utilized by the surround channels but for the most part, this film is driven by ambiance or police chasing down the criminals.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Contract to Kill” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making of Contract to Kill – (14:46) The cast and crew discuss working on the film.
  • Contract to Kill Trailer

EXTRAS:

“Contract to Kill” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


From filmmaker, writer and producer Keoni Waxman comes his action film “Contract to Kill”, as a former CIA/DEA operative named Jonathan Harmon is investigating terrorists that were captured in Mexico.  As Harmon is joined by two people, FBI Agent Zara and communications hacker/drone specialist Sharp, the three go to Istanbul to uncover a brutal plot of Islamic extremists using Sonora drug-smuggling routes to bring in deadly weapons and their leaders into the United States.

But to prevent an attack on America, Harmon comes up with an idea to have two savage forces to go against each other and waiting for the best moment for him and his team to attack.

I pretty much grew up watching Steven Seagal action films and while the Steven Seagal of the past is a much different man of the Steven Seagal of today, with his most recent films, the 2016 action film “Code of Honor” is one of his better films showcasing the actor.

Finding the better shots but also cast members that can help in carrying the film.

I tend to compare Seagal with WWE’s Hulk Hogan. Coming back as a wrestler in his 50’s at the time and taking on his younger counterparts such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and a few others.  And each time Hulk Hogan returns, now knowing he is in his ’60s, knowing he can still kick a lot of butt but you know deep inside, he’s not the same man that we watched when he was in his ’20s.  He’s not as quick, he’s not the same physically, but yet he has that presence and charisma that people still root for him.

In other words, he has created a legacy built from his earlier and successful years and has carried it on to the present time.

Watching Steven Seagal in “Contract to Kill”, you’re watching a man who has few lines, speaks very slow and not the same quick action star we once knew and we know he can dish it, we know he can still be portrayed to kick extreme ass and the body count of enemies still remains high in his films.

But yet, like his counterparts such as Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Jackie Chan, these are men are in their ’60s and ’70s but action film fans still want to see them kick ass.

As I watched “Contract to Kill”, we can see Seagal leading a team but to remain the nimble action star, the older action star making love to his young co-actress, the film didn’t work for me because situations seemed quite implausible.

One of my worst pet peeves when it comes to action films is seeing people hit and yet there are no bruising, no blood, nothing to show that they’ve been beaten.  Yet, we see actress Jemma Dallender’s character of Zaya, still looking beautiful with no sign of facial trauma. And despite being trained by the best, she ends up being a damsel in distress.

And I suppose there are other things about the film that didn’t work for me in terms of editing and flow, but in the end, Steven Seagal direct-to-video films are popcorn action films that are never expected to be deep.  If anything, they are action films mean to entertain and show us that Seagal can still kick ass.

As for the Blu-ray, “Contract to Kill” comes with a few special features and the enthusiasm behind-the-scenes with the actors working on the film. discussing working on an action film.

Overall, “Contract to Kill” may please the hardcore Steven Seagal action film fans.  But among the action films which he has starred in recent years, this film is not one of his better ones.

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