Film Review: Kill Ratio

There's plenty of action in this low-budget thriller about a military coup and the one man who can derail it, but without a Van Damme-level star, the movie's natural home is VOD and other nontheatrical platforms.
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James Henderson (Tom Hopper of TV's “Black Sails”) is acting as a local liaison—a fixer—for business people looking to get in on the ground floor in a newly formed autonomous republic in Eastern Europe. His current client is Gabrielle Martin (Amy Huberman), who's negotiating an exclusive catering contract at the upscale Hotel Krasnovia. But that night, new president Tania Petrenko's (Lacy Moore) motorcade is attacked; she's killed and military strongman General Lazar (Nick Dunning, who bears a decided resemblance to the late-career George Kennedy) steps into declare himself in charge. Apparently the democratic experiment is over before it ever started.

Except that it's not, because, though wounded, Petrenko is still very much alive and has made her way to the hotel, determined to stop the power-mad Lazar from crushing her fragile Freedonia beneath his fascist boot heel. This is where Henderson reveals a surprising skill set (including sword fighting) for someone in the business-liaison field and puts it to work protecting the President and thwarting the military takeover.

To U.K. indie-director Paul Tanter's credit, he makes excellent use of Dublin locations to stand in for Eastern Europe and executes some surprisingly elaborate and effective action scenes predicated on the claustrophobic geography of hotel hallways and guest rooms, though the perhaps inevitable repurposing of a laundry chute as escape hatch really is ludicrous. There's just no way it's not funny when a muscular, square-jawed commando flies out of a laundry chute. As to Hopper's "making-the-world-safe..." cred, he's credible enough physically but not especially charismatic, and it's charisma that separates the Jason Stathams from the Olivier Gruners.

Though Kill Ratio—the title apparently refers to the ratio of resources expended to results achieved, in which case James Henderson represents excellent value for money—delivers respectable action, in the end it fails to rise above from the constraints of its genre and budget, though that swordfight is really entertaining, even as it veers perilously close to comedy.

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