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Killer Force

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    Ian Jane
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  • Killer Force



    Released by: Kino Studio Classics
    Released on: May 17th, 2016.
    Director: Val Guest
    Cast: Telly Savalas, Peter Fonda, Christopher Lee, Maud Adams, O.J. Simpson
    Year: 1976
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Also known as The Diamond Mercenaries (which is what appears on the title card for this release), director Val Guest's Killer Force, made for American International Pictures in 1976, is a pretty solid heist film made all the more interesting by its cast.

    The story involves a man named Harry Webb (Telly Savalas) who works as the top man in charge of a high tech security company. When the movie begins he's in charge of overseeing operations at a diamond mine way out in the middle of an African desert. There's a buzz about that a theft is being planned and it's up to him to make sure that doesn't happen. Directly in charge of the day to day security operations at the site is Mike Bradley (Peter Fonda), who doesn't seem all that impressed with Webb poking about. Bradly has got a thing going on with Claire Chambers (Maud Adams), the beautiful super model daughter of one of the higher ups, who just so happens to be visiting her beau.

    The more Webb looks into things, the more he's worried that there are those within the company planning the heist. The mine administrator, aware of what's happening, talks Bradly into cooperating and posing as one of the thieves and by doing so, getting the scoop on who's really up to what here. It turns out that the man behind it all is named John Lewis (Hugh O'Brian), but he's not working alone - he's got skilled thieves Major Chilton (Christopher Lee) and Bopper Alexander (Simpson) working alongside him. But not everyone knows the truth about what Bradly is doing here, and soon enough, with millions of dollars in diamonds at stake, things start to get pretty dangerous for all involved.

    This one features a pretty workmanlike script that offers some decent, if predictable plot twists and plenty of great location photography. Shot in South Africa it's an attractively shot picture that's well put together on a technical level. It's not overly flashy but it is effective in what it shows and how it shows it. The movie is also reasonably brisk in its pacing and the funky score from Georges Garvarentz is pretty solid as well.

    The real reason most will check this out, however, is for the cast. While none of the players gathered to do their thing in front of the camera for this film will put it at the top of their respective resumes, they're all fairly fun to watch here. Fonda seems distant, almost uninterested at times as if he might be going through the motions, but he's got that cool factor working in his favor. Not his best work by a long shot but he's serviceable in the role. Maud Adams is decent enough here and plenty fun to look at while both Christopher Lee and, yeah, O.J. Simpson are pretty fun to watch in their hefty supporting roles. Hugh O'Brien is also a kick here but the real star of Killer Force is the mighty Telly Savalas. He plays his character with grit and determination, taking things very close to over the top more than once and making the movie all the better for it. Some serious scenery gets chewed here, but Telly makes it work.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Killer Force is presented on Blu-ray in 1.78.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer and generally speaking it looks really nice. There are a few small scuffs and scratches evident here and there but overall the picture is very clean. The increase in detail is frequently very impressive when compared to what DVD could provide while texture and depth are strong throughout as well. Black levels are solid while shadow detail is quite good as well. There is no evidence of any noise reduction or edge enhancement nor are there any compression artifacts.

    The only audio option for the feature is a DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track, in the film's native English. No alternate language options or subtitles are provided. The score has more depth and clarity to it while balance is spot on. That means that there aren't any problems understanding the dialogue when the music or effects kick in. Hiss and distortion are non-issues. A very fine mix overall, one that would seem to be an accurate representation of the original elements.

    Extras are limited to a theatrical trailer for the feature, bonus trailers for Firepower, The Passage, and Shadows In An Empty Room, static menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Kino's Blu-ray release of Killer Force might be light on extras but it does look and sound very nice indeed. The movie itself makes great use of a pretty fantastic cast and provides plenty of entertainment - it might not be particularly deep, but it is a lot of fun.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!



















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