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Killing Car (Redemption/Salvation Films) DVD Review

    Ian Jane

  • Killing Car (Redemption/Salvation Films) DVD Review

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    Released by: Redemption/Salvation Films
    Released on: April 29th, 2008.
    Director: Jean Rollin
    Cast: Tiki Tsang, Frederique Hayman, Jean-Jacques Lefeuvre, Karine Swenson, Jean-Rene Gossard
    Year: 1996
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    Killing Car – Movie Reviews:

    In a filmography full of unusual films, Killing Car stands out as one of Jean Rollin's strangest feature films. It's oddly paced, cheaply made, and poorly acted but like so many of the director's films, it has that certain something that makes it more interesting than it really has any right to be.

    The movie follows an unnamed Asian beauty (played by Tiki Tsang) who steals a Buick and then drives around and shoots people. The film jumps back and forth between Paris and New York City and it repeats the same plot vignette over and over again while a pair of cops trails her. When she isn't shooting people, Tiki goes for a boat ride and gyrates at a dance club.

    Also know under the alternate title of La Femme Dangereuse, the film was started in the eighties, shelved and then finished in the early nineties. That said, it definitely feels like an eighties film with its fairly garish color scheme and tacky Flashdance-inspired outfits and hairstyles.

    Performance wise, Killing Car is pretty low-rent. To her credit, Tiki Tsang, whose performance here is almost entirely free of dialogue (its' easy to think of the Female Convict Scorpion films or even Ms .45, a film that Killing Car borrows its cover art from), does have an interesting and palpable screen presence. She cruises through the film with an awkward grace and a restrained sex appeal. It's hard to say that she looks the part when the part she plays is so randomly defined, but for fairly inexplicable reasons she is well cast here. Sadly, she's really the only part of the cast that works. The guys who play the cops are dull, the rest of the supporting cast phone it in and no one appears to be particularly inspired. While in many ways this works against the film, in an act of strange coincidence it sort of reinforces the bizarre atmosphere (which appears to have been created quite by accident).

    Rollin is far from inept. He's a ridiculously talented directed and has made some almost perfect dream-like horror films and some pretty wonderful porno too. The man has a very deliberate style and it's almost always more important than the substance. Fewer films on his resume demonstrate that more aptly than this one, but here the style isn't strong enough to overcome that lack of substance and many parts of the film just flat out do not make sense. Yet, Killing Car absolutely has its moments. Tiki's dance scene is certainly appealing (with its sequins and backdrop it looks like it was taken off of a Cramps album cover) and some of the moderately gruesome murders don't so much pack a punch but at least supply a light slap. There are some fantastic compositions and memorable scenes here and Tiki makes quite a sexually menacing impression when she stands in front of her car. The problem is that you have to reach pretty deep into the picture to find these moments and if you aren't an established fan of the man's work before you sit down with this one, you probably won't know what to look for.

    The finale, as it is with most Rollin films, ends the film on a rather bleak note and the fleeting but obvious moments of sex and violence all help to paint the film with the director's trademarks, but you have to wonder if his heart was in it.

    Killing Car – DVD Review:

    Redemption's 1.33.1 fullframe transfer presents the movie in its original aspect ratio, but sadly this transfer hasn't been properly flagged for progressive scan playback (which was a recurring problem with their DVD releases). The picture is a little soft and there's some minor print damage here and there but everything is perfectly watchable. Killing Car hasn't ever really looked all that good on home video in the first place and this release is pretty much on par with Redemption's UK DVD that came out a few years earlier in terms of picture quality. It's watchable, it's just not great.

    Killing Car is presented in its original French language in a decent Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track with optional English subtitles. There isn't any noticeable channel separation here but the dialogue stays clear and the levels are fine. The gun shots sound really flat but aside from that this isn't a bad mix at all.

    The best supplement on this DVD is the twenty-five minute Eurotika British television episode entitled Virgins And Vampires covering the film of Jean Rollin. This is an excellent retrospective of the man's career and an interesting look at his aesthetic and artistic slant. Featuring some excellent interview footage and clips from a bunch of his films, this may not tell established fans anything they don't already know from the commentary and interview supplements that have appeared on the Encore release but it's never the less an enjoyable and worthy retrospective.

    Aside from that, the extras on the DVD are pretty much the same as the other Redemption/Rollin releases that have appeared over the last year or so in North America. Look for a small still gallery for Killing Car, a Jean Rollin biography in text format, a promo spot for the completely unrelated Blood & Dishonor book, and trailers for two other Redemption DVD properties, namely Aquarium and Nature Morte. Anamorphic widescreen menus are included and the film is divided into twenty-two chapter stops.

    Killing Car – The Final Word:

    While Killing Car is far from Rollin's best work, it's an interesting picture in its own right and worth a watch for those who already know and love his work. Redemption does an alright job with a film that has never looked good and supplied a couple of worthwhile extras on top of that.

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