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With: Jesse Metcalfe, Bruce Willis, Natalie Eva Marie, Lala Kent, Texas Battle, Sergio Rizzuto, Swen Temmel, Tyler Jon Olson
Written by: Chris LaMont, Joe Russo, based on a story by Nikolai From, Clayton Haugen
Directed by: Matt Eskandari
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language throughout
Running Time: 98
Date: 08/21/2020

Hard Kill (2020)

1/2 Star (out of 4)

'Hard' Pressed

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Clunky dialogue, lazy exposition, stiff acting, wobbly camerawork, a dull bad guy, and a ridiculous situation are just part of what awaits viewers in this astoundingly bad Bruce Willis action movie.

In Hard Kill, security expert Derek Miller (Jesse Metcalfe) is offered a job by billionaire CEO Donovan Chalmers (Bruce Willis) to help protect a piece of tech that could change the world. Miller convinces his old crew — Sasha (Natalie Eva Marie), Dash (Swen Temmel), and Lt. Colton (Tyler Jon Olson) — to come along, promising a large paycheck.

It turns out that the job is not just guarding the device, but protecting Chalmers from a terrorist called The Pardoner (Sergio Rizzuto). The Pardoner has kidnapped Chalmers's daughter Eva (Lala Kent), and already has the device, and just needs Chalmers's passcode to activate it. The team is taken to an abandoned warehouse, where they must prepare for the battle of their lives.

Willis re-teams with director Matt Eskandari, after their equally bad Survive the Night, for Hard Kill, a movie that could have been put together by a computer and churned out on a factory assembly line. Even the title seems randomly slapped together, stolen from other movie titles (including, perhaps not coincidentally, Willis's Die Hard).

The entire setup requires the heroes to be easily fooled into becoming "the cavalry" for Chalmers, and on Eva simply walking up to the Pardoner (whose nickname sounds like "partner" when spoken fast) and pretty much asking to be kidnapped. Then, the whole thing is about... a passcode? It seems as if, for an evil genius, there might be an easier way to go about this, and all so he can turn the device "into a weapon."

Hard Kill is just all so numbingly impersonal and unimaginative, and even Willis — who at least gets to do more here than he did in Survive the Night — just looks tired and spent, so very far away from his best work.

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