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Kill Me Again (Blu-ray Review)

Kill-Me-AgainKill Me Again would be one of three on-screen appearances by Val Kilmer and Joanne Whalley (then Mrs. Val Kilmer) which includes the Ron Howard directed and George Lucas produced fantasy film Willow and Francis Ford Coppola’s horror film Twixt.  A modern day noir directed by John Dahl (The Last Seduction, Red Rock West) from a screenplay by Dahl and David W. Warfield.  Kill Me Again features supporting performances by Jon Gries (Taken), Bibi Besch (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) and Nick Dimitri (The Fugitive).

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Jack Andrews, a down on his luck private investigator is looking to score some cash in order to pay off his debt to a local loan shark. Fay Forrester in femme fatale mode – is looking to disappear, having just made off with a suitcase full of money stolen from her psychotic boyfriend Vince following a robbery gone wrong. Fate will bring Jack and Fay together. And fate may tear them apart.

John Dahl may have gone onto a prestigious career in directing television picking up known little hit films like Joy Ride along the way, but his start is an interesting one.  He tapped into something I wish could have been more expanded upon or copied.  Dahl’s first three films all are very desert neo-noir tales that include Red Rock West, The Last Seduction and this movie, his first, Kill Me Again.  All are very much in line with the noir era of old, but modern and take place in small towns in the desert (Or in the case of The Last Seduction, upstate New York).  There is money involved, femme fatales, a common person stuck in a huge game of deceit, danger and of course murder.

Kill Me Again gives us also a pairing of then married couple Val Kilmer and Joanne Whalley.  The two have some good chemistry obviously and build a believable partnership and romance on screen.  The most enjoyable factor in the film, however, is Michael Madsen as the angry boyfriend.  Madsen, not yet scruffy voiced but soft spoken, brings a complete menace and wild card unpredictability to every frame he gets to take part in.  They use him just the right amount to be incredibly effective and leave you wanting more.

The film is pretty solid.  Its really nothing incredibly special and kinda feels like everything else you’d catch randomly on HBO, Showtime or Cinemax back in the 1990s.  However, for what its worth, its a decent random watch.  My only problems and concerns come with the films final climax and twist as…I really didn’t buy into it at all…and the resolution results in some hilarity as I found it to be a bit ridiculous.  Just odd and convenient choices happening so not to spoil it.  But, overall, its okay.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Kill Me Again debuts on Blu-ray with a pretty solid transfer on an image that is on the softer side of things.  Details come across as a little bit above average.  A smokier, sun beaten look to the film prevents things from being wow’ing (Unless tons of $$$ is thrown into the transfer).  Overall, this is a solid image.

Depth:  Decent depth work here.  Spacing is fine and movements are for the most part smooth and cinematic in nature.

Black Levels:  Blacks are solid and provide ample shading and enhancement on sharpening.  No crushing was witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Coloring comes on as a bit weathered and faded in this image.  Blues look pretty nice.  Nothing is really striking or bold, but that is most likely by design due to the desert aesthetic.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are slightly warmer and maintain a consistent look throughout the run time of the film.  Facial details shine through really good in close ups (Wrinkles, stubble, lip texture), but get a little smoother as the camera pulls back.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some grain and minimal specs.

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  This 2.0 stereo mix provides and fun and eventful experience.  Ambient sounds and environments feels pretty realized within a balanced blend.  Guns, cars crashing/tires squeeling and the like feel full, loud and layered.  Its not going to knock you down, but it’ll jab you in the face pretty good.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is set to a decent volume in the mix and provides a clean and full sounding listen.

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Trailer (HD, 1:48)

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John Dahl’s Kill Me Again is some Saturday afternoon fluff, but it is decently entertaining.  If you like this one, you should DEFINITELY check out his next film Red Rock West (Available in Germany on Blu-ray).  That one has Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper and feels like a lost Coen Bros film.  Kill Me Again plays that same kind of desert noir but to a middling kinda fashion.  This Blu-ray comes on as pretty decent, once again with no real extras to speak of from Olive Films.  At a decent price, if you’re even the smallest of fan, its worth the pick up.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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