Naturally, if you’re a certain type, perhaps someone like myself, you’re gonna be quite intrigued by the cover art on this here Blu-ray release from the good folks over at Scream Factory. You might get the impression that this is some sort of tough-chicks revenge thriller. But, no, that’s definitely not what’s going on here. And thankfully so, because revenge thrillers are quite predictable and usually have some gross rape scene at the beginning that justifies the excessive violence that follows. Instead, writer/director Trent Haaga (who based the script on a novel by Bryan Smith) takes us on darkly comedic journey wherein plenty of women shoot people.
Chip (Matthew Gray Gubler) is a sensitive dude. He’s kind of wimpy, as are most of the men in this flick. I guess Chip is what the alt-right would call a cuck, though he’s really just a dude who’s in love with a woman and happens to be the passive person in their relationship. His girlfriend, Liza (Anna Lynne McCord) is psychotic, violent, possessive, and unrepentant about all of it.
There is the whole domination sex-fantasy going on, of course. But 68 Kill subverts the usual badass women tropes by eschewing the compulsory rape scene and making the protagonist a terrible person. It’s actually nice to see a film like this shrug off most of the moral baggage and get straight to the point: We love to watch killing. Fake, real, or taken to the cartoony extremes that we find in 68 Kill, we just really dig the stuff. But we like to excuse the whole exercise by claiming that the killings are morally justified. Well, that ain’t the case here, and we’re left wondering what the hell’s wrong with ourselves, and the world around us, if this is our idea of a good time.
An interesting idea to be sure, but the execution is pretty uninspired. Every now and then you get some flourishes in the cinematography or the direction, but other than that, there’s not a whole lot to say about the style beyond it being functional.
How you feel about this probably reflects the way you feel about film, philosophically. If you think film should simply be a vehicle for illustrating a screenplay, then you probably won’t mind the utilitarian nature of 68 Kill. I’m kind of put off by it, since I believe in the primacy of the image in motion pictures. So I found it kind of sad that there’s not a whole lot to distinguish Haaga’s visual style.
Another thing that’s pretty grating is that the film can’t decide what kind of comedy it wants to be. It’s all pretty over the top, but there are moments that are jarringly juvenile, almost Adam Sandler-esque. When a cop tells Chip to “put it in her pooper,” one can’t help but cringe.
The film’s climax won’t surprise anyone who’s ever seen an exploitation film. The basic message always seems to be just about the same: It’s a violent world and the only way to answer that violence is with more violence. Same message, different day.
69 Kill won’t bore you, and at least it tries something new, conceptually, but the poor execution will most likely doom it to obscurity.
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