Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: KILLZONE (1985)

Director: David A. Prior
89 Minutes
Spartan Films/Vestron Video
Not Rated

Proudly displayed in a video store window.

Killzone marks David A. Prior's first foray into action films. While Prior's first film, Sledgehammer is a horror film, Prior was very well aware that horror movies had a limited market internationally. From this point forward, most of Prior's work lies more heavily in the action genre.

Killzone is a lot like many mid-eighties action movies. It revolves around the only American defeat in large scale military combat: Vietnam. The trend began with  Ted Kotcheff's First Blood. First Blood attempted (and failed in many ways) to examine the psychological state of American soldiers returning from a war of attrition.

Killzone examines this idea with more of an in your face approach.

The film starts with Jason McKenna (Fritz Matthews) and Mitchell (Ted Prior) with their platoon captured by Vietcong and an American Vietcong sympathizer, Col. Crawford (David Campbell).  They are beaten, tortured, and threatened for the first 30 minutes of the movie.  (A very common sight in Prior's work around Vietnam.  Nearly every one of them has a torture scene)

McKenna starts losing his mind and having flashbacks and saying weird things. Mitchell has a brawl with Crawford and takes his knife. The rest of the platoon doesn't seem to like Mitchell or McKenna. In the middle of the night, the two buddies escape their poorly constructed pen and plan an ambush on the Vietcong and that dirty bastard Crawford. McKenna kills a patrol by strangulation. Crawford catches them. McKenna spin kicks (!) and stabs the shit out of all of them.

It's revealed at this point that this a very elaborate military exercise. This isn't Vietnam and the exercise has driven McKenna to flashback to 'Nam, where he apparently snapped a lot of necks and spin kicked (!) a lot of Vietcong.

At this point, the film becomes much more than I ever expected. It's hyperbolic sensibilities work almost too perfectly and form a film that is highly entertaining and blunt with it's possibly unintentional message.

The P.O.W. resistance training is called off. The camp is torn down and Mitchell tries to bargain with Crawford to let him capture McKenna alive. Crawford wants him dead. The manhunt begins and the body counts rises.  Mitchell sets out to find his friend.

McKenna sticks up some hikers and gets some sweet supplies to set booby traps.

Mitchell finds McKenna. He says, "Give it up Jas! You can't win!" The rest of the movie is essentially a shitstorm of Mitchell and McKenna taking dudes out. It's awesome.

In the canon of David A. Prior's works, this is one of my favorites. Killzone is very similar to Deadly Prey in a lot of ways. Many of the same actors and a similar premise. Killzone feels less restrained (Although, Deadly Prey isn't exactly an exercise in restraint. . .) and has more of a serious undertone.

And I swear to God the music was stolen from the Rambo series.

Set Yourself Up:

- Take some hallucinogens and try to pretend you are in a P.O.W. Camp
- Make a corrugated metal box and lock yourself inside a little slit cut out so you can see your tv.
- Stash some sloppy joes and Vanilla (piss water) Coke in the box before getting in.

- M. McSlam

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