MVD Visual // 2010 // 112 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // June 22nd, 2012
"Grab my ass and don't let go."
Drug runner Sean Strayger (Andrew Keegan) and his friends work for notorious drug baron Escondido, transporting drugs across the Mexican border in their private planes. But their success has caught the attention of the FBI, who are determined to take down Escondido's empire piece by piece. Thanks to their tightness, Strayger and his cohorts manage to stay one step ahead of the feds, until the mysterious Rosanna (Natalia Cigliuti) enters the scene and begins a relationship with Strayger that immediately causes tensions among the group.
Let's just call it, right here: Kill Speed is The Fast and the Furious retooled, with airplanes taking the place of supped-up muscle cars. However, unlike Vin Diesel's franchise, this lacks the charisma, fun, semi-decent acting, and quality action scenes.
Kill Speed's main claim to fame is that the actors were actually in the airborne aircraft and, in certain scenes, at the controls while filming the aerial scenes; which is apparently a first. This is certainly impressive, and kudos to the cast and crew for their innovation. But here's the thing: even knowing all of this, the air-based action is still deathly dull. The simple fact is, unless you're going for some Top Gun-style air combat, planes chasing each other (especially the dodgy CGI ones we get towards the end) just can't compete with a good old fashioned car chase.
If Kill Speed is to be believed, the war on drugs is a complete and utter joke, where every time a drug runner is caught, they get to make a deal to save themselves from going to jail. Greg Grunberg's (Heroes) Federal agent Jonas Moore, who is leading the investigation into drug baron Escondido's empire, is as limp as an old man after a couple of beers, struggling to capture just one scumbag without letting five more walk free. How true-to-life this actually is I can't say, but it certainly does little to help the viewer find anyone relatable amongst the cast. In fact, it's interesting that writer/director Kim Bass should expect us to care for the fates of what is effectively a bunch of guys transporting crystal meth across the United States. Are we expected to want them to succeed in their mission? Perhaps I've spent too much time watching The Wire and The Shield, but I've come to the conclusion that drug dealers are supposed to be the bad guys. Unless, of course, it's okay to be a drug dealer when you're a young and good-looking American kid?
The cast is full of familiar faces, though none really possess what you'd call star power. Greg Grunberg and Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) come out of this the best, while Nick Carter (of The Backstreet Boys fame) is apparently doing his impression of Sacha Baron Choen impersonating Vanilla Ice. Former pro-wrestler Bill Goldberg makes a brief appearance and is surprisingly good, even if his role hardly stretches him.
Kill Speed makes little sense. For example, why would the FBI have drug smugglers carry out a mission to rescue a captured agent? It beggars belief, but it's no more illogical than allowing a hacker unsupervised access to government computers; which also happens.
A clean 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer ensures Kill Speed looks pretty good on DVD. Colors are strong, detail levels good, and the picture remains sharp throughout. The Dolby 5.1 Surround mix does its job, delivering clear dialogue without ever really impressing. There are no bonus features.
Despite lacking a single redemptive quality, it's hard to get too worked up, as Kill Speed is so dumb it'll earn your pity, rather than your scorn. Its place is in the bargain bin, and I advise you leave it there.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: MVD Visual
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R