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'Hired To Kill (2-Disc Special Edition)'
(Brian Thompson, Oliver Reed, George Kennedy, Jose Ferrer, Barbara Niven, et al / Blu ray+DVD / R / (1990) 2016 / Arrow Films UK)

Overview: A fashion photographer and seven models travel to a South American island fortress, ostensibly to do a fashion shoot. In reality, the photographer is a mercenary and their job is to free an imprisoned rebel leader.

Blu-ray Verdict: No one can say Frank Ryan (Thompson) isn't awesome. As a badass mercenary, he plays by his own rules. But when Thomas (Kennedy) approaches the hulking brute with a new assignment, at first he's wary. He must travel to the small country of Cypra and rescue a political prisoner named Rallis (Ferrer). But in order to do this, he must pretend to be a gay fashion designer and have a retinue of seven fashion models. Did you think there would be another way to get that job done?

This initially chaps Ryan's hide, as he's an ultra-macho warrior who "doesn't like working with women". But these aren't ordinary women, they're all specially trained in the fighting arts. The only real obstacle standing in their way is the president of Cypra, one Michael Bartos (Reed) and his goons. Will Ryan and his lethal ladies be able to extract the prisoner and complete their mission? Find out today when you buy this incredible, crystal clear Blu-ray update of 'Hired To Kill.'

It was nice to see fan-favorite Brian Thompson as the main hero for once. He usually plays the baddie, and he deserves a starring role like this. He gets a great intro to his character, doing something to a ringing phone that we've all fantasized about doing at one time or another. But that's about it for character development for Frank Ryan, all we need to know is that he's a grizzled, tank top-wearing, musclebound belligerent jackass/hero.

But how could Thompson be a villain this time around, when the great Oliver Reed fills the role with aplomb? Sure, Reed's absurd, bushy mustache makes him look like a cross between David Crosby and a walrus, but it's all part of the fun. 'Hired to Kill' isn't that dissimilar from another "Oliver Reed hitting the skids" movie, 'Rage to Kill' (1988). Maybe he demanded only to be in these " ... To Kill" movies to cap off his career?!

Jose Ferrer doesn't do that much, and George Kennedy wears some cool glasses. You've got to hand it to director Mastorakis. He can usually corral together a bunch of B-stars like this and create a product perfect for the VHS market of the day. Kennedy also worked with Mastorakis on 'Nightmare at Noon' (1988), as you may remember. Essentially, 'Hired to Kill' is a non-South America-set El Presidente movie, and of course Ryan has to assemble a team, and naturally there's a training sequence.

But those time-honored classic items are filled with babes. The scenario is reminiscent of 'Hell Squad' (1986), but just call it the "fem-spendables". I do, so why not you also? In closing, 'Hired To Kill' is a great way to spend a wet Sunday afternoon, when in need of some cheesy 90's movie action. This is a new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Brand new 2K restoration of the film, approved by writer-director Nico Mastorakis
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original Stereo audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio Commentary with editor Barry Zetlin
Hired to Direct a brand new interview with director Nico Mastorakis on the making of Hired to Kill
Undercover Mercenary a brand new interview with star Brian Thompson
Original Theatrical Trailer
Stills Gallery
Original Freedom or Death Screenplay (BD/DVD-ROM Content)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
Fully-illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver