Millennium Entertainment // 2010 // 97 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 17th, 2012
More than revenge.
You know what up-and-coming group of pluck filmmakers I've got my eye on? The Kazakhs. Known mainly for historical action epics like Mongol and Nomad, the Kazakhstan movie industry is starting to make some noise in the overseas import gig. Their latest is The Liquidator, a film that defies its generic appearance and the presence of straight-to-DVD squatter Vinnie Jones, offering up a nifty slice of foreign espionage.
The Liquidator tells the story of Arsen (Berik Aitzhanov) a former special forces soldier and all around badass whose life gets nuked when his brother is murdered. Driven by a desire to deliver some bodacious violent comeuppance, Arsen embarks on a furious quest to reveal the perpetrators and uncover the conspiracy that lies behind his death. As the bruises and bodies mount, Arsen find himself hunted by a hitman known only as the Silent Killer (Jones) who may or may not be a tool for yet another secret organization.
I don't know much about Kazakhstan, outside a cursory reading of its Wikipedia entry, but judging by this movie I'm going to guess they have a serious "shadowy cabal" problem going on over there.
Which is fine by me. My life's credo tends to be "the more shadowy cabals, the merrier," and The Liquidator runs with it. Arsen's exploits essentially boil down to a chase film, as sort of Kazakh-Bourne tale where we eventually come to realize that all is not right in Arsen's brainpan.
His reflexes are still money and Aitzhanov is an able physical actor, unleashing some nifty combat. The Liquidator isn't necessarily an action film, since the kinetic scenes show up in fits and spurts (the lone prolonged sequence is a decent car chase). The picture generates its juice through tension and mystery, as Arsen dodges gunfire while trying to crack the case. Jones essentially delivers a cameo role, showing up much later and cutting a swath of death. He makes a good spot villain and his fight with Arsen represents my favorite of piece of action.
The DVD: standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround (original Russian, and an English dub), and a making-of featurette.
What really makes The Liquidator work is its out-of-nowhere ending. I won't spoil anything, but I highly recommend sticking with it through the finale. It's a trip.
Not Guilty. Worth a spin.
Review content copyright © 2012 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Millennium Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Russian)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated