Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Trained to Kill

   A movie called Trained to Kill is almost always a sure thing. It's going to be an 80's or 90's action movie of questionable quality, ridiculous one-liners, some kind of a revenge plot, and at least a handful of slow motion scenes. You either love and expect that kind of movie, or you don't. In which case, I don't know that we have anything else to talk about. Move along, there's nothing for you here. If you are actually still here that means you dig movies with titles like Trained to Kill, Raw Deal, Rapid Fire, Stone Cold, Red Scorpion, Hard Target... you get the picture. Specifically though, I am here to talk about Trained to Kill, because boy was this movie a treat.

   See, the worst thing a movie like this can be is boring. It doesn't matter how silly it gets- so long as it's consistently entertaining and action packed, it's good. It might not be mainstream 'good', but it's good for what it is. I love movies like this. I eat them up. They're not just cinematic junk food, they're off-brand cinematic junk food. They're the kind of junk food that's trying to look like the good stuff, yet it's always a few dollars cheaper- but gets the job done anyways. That's Trained to Kill. This movie could've never survived a theatrical run. I could be wrong, but I think it was strictly a video release. Either way, it never even made it to DVD. Yessir, I watched this on VHS.

   Trained to Kill is about an old soldier who returns to Cambodia to rescue a son he didn't even know he had with one of the locals from way back when. The young man, Sam, returns with his dad to the states- carrying along a gift for him from his mom. Now, I'm a bit fuzzy on the details because my attention only zeroed in when crazy stuff was happening- but the present is a box of diamonds. And, somehow some of dad's old war buddies found out about it, only these guys have a grudge against him because he ratted them out for smuggling cocaine during the war. So, they kill dad, steal the diamonds and leave Sam to team up with his All-American brother to take them down.

   Can I get a 'hell yeah!'? Hell yeah! This is 80's B-movie gold. Diamonds, drugs, revenge, a team up, and then there's even a freakin' training montage! Yes! The brothers seek out one of dad's old war buddies who isn't a crooked maniac, and he... teaches them what he knows. I guess. All of this includes some quaint leg tosses, jump roping, and working out to lively rock music. There's a smattering of martial arts thrown in there for good measure, but honestly- really, this training montage is ridiculous. Half of the time it looks awkward, and the other half of the time it's just flat out unconvincing. Amazing.

  You can't even call stuff like that flaws in a movie like this. It's stupid and poorly put together, but it's also kinda part of the charm. I don't like my food to touch though, so to speak, so while I don't mind moments like this being hammy and silly, the action scenes better kick ass though. And, thank god, they do. Granted, it's nothing you haven't seen before, but there's still a charm to it all in Trained to Kill. There's sword fights, shootouts, a couple car chases, motorcycle chases, kung fu, explosions- the works. It might not deliver the promised "200% ACTION" but it delivers enough. I was pleased with the amount of butt kicked in the movie.

   The brothers are fun characters who while never really being more than walking cliches, they have chemistry with each other. The actors play off of each other well. And, oh man... speaking of actors, this movie is full of familiar faces. It stars Frank Zagarino and Glen Eaton- but it has Marshall R. Teague, Chuck Connors, Robert Z'dar, Henry Silva and even a bit part for Kane Hodder. B-movie fans eat your heart out! This is a crazy cast. The movie was fun from beginning to end, whether it was being shoddy and ridiculous, or explosive and action packed. I was completely pleased with this little flick, and I'm happy I own it. Now to subject one of my friends to it's awesomeness...

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