Review: Final Kill (2020)

Starring Ed Morrone, Johnny Messner, Randy Couture, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Danny Trejo, Billy Zane, Edward Finlay, Anita Leeman Torres

Fight Choreography by ?

Directed by Justin Lee

Final Kill tells the story of Mickey Rome ( Morrone) a mercenary who works for an organization providing protection for those who don’t have the means to protect themselves. Mickey is a live-wire full of anger and anxiety from his years working, but at the behest of his boss Riser (Zane) Mickey takes one last job: flying down to Costa Rica and protecting a husband and wife who embezzled money from a mafia family and look to turn in evidence on them in order to get away and stay safe. It’s not long before Mickey finds that his job is far more dangerous than he though, culminating in one deadly night. Can he keep his clients alive long enough to figure out what’s really going on?

Let’s get this out of the way: while there are a few (very few) inspired moments, particularly with the character of Mickey Rome, this is just not a good film. From a story standpoint, even at 81 minutes, the story unfolds slowly, and as anyone can see the double cross coming before the second act begins, this is becomes a disaster. Now this can be mitigated and even overcome by two things: the characters/actors, and the action. In regards to the characters, all are two dimensional except for the main character himself. Mickey Rome is an interesting action hero: full of the pent-up rage of a New Yorker missing his subway stop, physically fit but not a muscleman or martial artist, his salt and pepper beard a reminder that he’s not old but nowhere close to young either, his scenes, particularly when he loses his cool, is funny in his interactions with the other characters. The film could have leaned more comedy and it would have been better for it. Morrone is good enough to pull it off, if lacking that onscreen charisma of a star. Outside of that, all of the other characters are dull and one note. I had a difficult time really engaging with the Bauer couple as they seemed all surface, with their exposition about their past is just that, and doesn’t really seem to connect to them at all. The actors were more than adequate, but the material was not. Now as for the other “stars” of the film, it’s hard to say as Billy Zane, Danny Trejo, Randy Couture, and Dr. Drew are all in maybe two scenes each, and those scenes barely last 2 minutes, and in some cases barely one. Johnny Messner, a really good character actor, isn’t in this film nearly enough and what time he gets is wasted.

The action here is what’s really disappointing. There are about four action scenes, and they’re all dull. The best one is really the first one, where Mickey Rome trades bullets with a hitman toward the start of the film in a flashback. The back and forth banter of two really tired mercenaries was hilarious to listen to, as both men really would rather be doing virtually anything else than shoot at each other. This is where the film should have leaned into itself. The rest of the action isn’t choreographed well at all, with questionable camera angles and editing. On the small budget this film had the action scenes really need to pop, and they just don’t. It seemed almost an afterthought when it should have been the entire point of the film.

But it’s really no wonder. This film has no listed stuntmen/women nor is there a stunt/fight coordinator. I can’t help but fathom how this film got made without them. I wish they would’ve asked me. I know a lot good guys/gals who could have rocked this film out.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 3.5

There was potential for this film, but the poor story choices and lackluster action scenes just doom this film. Maybe better action and less name actors would have served this film better. It’s a shame as it wastes a good performance from Ed Morrone.