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Final Kill Review

April 13, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Final Kill Ed Morrone
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Final Kill Review  

Final Kill Review

Ed Morrone– Mickey Rome
Johnny Messner– Pauly
Billy Zane– Carl Riser
Randy Couture– Deacon Long
Paige Sturges– Lori Williams
James Russo– Bob
Danny Trejo– Francesco
Dr. Drew Pinsky– Dr. Metzger

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Justin Lee
Screenplay by Justin Lee

Distributed by Cinedigm

Not Rated
Runtime– 80 minutes

Buy it here


Final Kill, written and directed by Justin Lee, is a well-made low budget crime thriller with a top flight B-movie cast. It isn’t anything we all haven’t seen before, but it works more than it doesn’t, and sometimes that’s all you really need.

Final Kill stars Ed Morrone as Mickey Rome, a professional protector that is burned out from his job. His therapist Dr. Metzger (Dr. Drew Pinsky for some reason) isn’t much help, nor are his friends and colleagues. In fact, Mickey’s boss Carl Riser (Billy Zane) wants him to take on one more job before quitting. At first, Mickey doesn’t want to take the final job. Mickey just wants to stop, but Carl eventually convinces Mickey to take on one last gig. The final job will send Mickey to a safe house in Central America where he will protect a husband and wife from an organized crime outfit (the married couple apparently stole $8 million from the outfit and the outfit is pissed about it). It’s supposed to be an easy job; two people, just for a few days.

Yes. Supposed to be.

When Mickey arrives at the safe house he’s upset about the house (it’s a mansion that has too many open spaces on the property), he’s weirded out by the agency woman there to introduce him to the married couple, and the married couple, despite being in great danger, are very nonchalant about their situation. Mickey believes the couple thinks they’re on vacation. As a result, there’s serious tension between Mickey and the couple.

Now, as Mickey attempts to settle into his new and final assignment, he starts having flashbacks to previous assignments that didn’t go all that well (we see one of those assignments during his visit with Dr. Metzger and then again here). Mickey is also nervous about the presence of Pauli (Johnny Messner), a fellow member of Carl’s professional protector group. Why is he here?

It takes a day or two, but Mickey develops a kind of rapport with the married couple and, to an extent, they start to realize what kind of danger they’re in. The couple shares some of their life secrets with Mickey, creating a bond of sorts.

And then the shit hits the fan. The mob lays siege on the safe house, and Mickey’s final assignment isn’t exactly what he signed up for. There’s actually something else going on, something sinister, underhanded, and just plain wrong.

Final Kill has an uneven tone that somehow still works. When it starts you think, based on Morrone’s performance, that the movie is going to be a full on dark comedy. Morrone, as far as I can tell, is not a stand-up comedian, but he plays his Mickey character as though he is. Mickey is a goof. Then we see the first of Mickey’s flashbacks and the tone shifts. Mickey is still kind of a smartass goofball but his jokes aren’t all that funny in this situation. His jokes are like a coping mechanism that he has to use right in the middle of a gun battle while protecting someone from being killed. When Mickey comes out of his flashback and starts interacting again with the husband and wife his comedy isn’t as funny as it was before the flashback. The comedy is kind of sad. It isn’t exactly depressing but it’s damn close to it. This shifting tone shouldn’t work. It’s just too jarring. But, as I said, the uneven tone works.

The movie’s pacing is a little off. The action scenes should probably move a bit faster than they do. That isn’t to say that they aren’t exciting or brutal. Mickey’s first flashback, where he’s trying to protect a woman from a guy with a gun while maneuvering around big rocks and whatnot, is well done and suspenseful because you’re never quite sure where the bad guy is going to be. There’s also a terrific hand-to-hand fight in the kitchen of the safe house that will make you wince at least twice. These sequences, though, move at the same speed as everything else in the movie. I think that’s weird. It works, yes, but it’s weird.


The movie’s performances are generally good across the board. Ed Morrone does a great job as burned out professional protector Mickey Rome. As I said earlier, as far as I can tell Morrone is not a stand-up comedian, but he delivers his lines like one. Mickey has a goofy personality. Mickey is also a guy dealing with a lot of shit. Morrone handles that duality well. Morrone also does a good job in the action scenes he’s in. He knows how to handle a gun and throw down when necessary. I do wish the movie did a little more with Mickey’s love of a .38 revolver, not as a back-up gun but as a primary gun. What modern action movie has a main character that uses a .38?

Billy Zane is mega sleazy as Mickey’s boss Carl Riser. Zane is only in a few scenes but he makes them standout and, again, he just makes Riser a total sleazebag. And that’s before you find out that he might not be on the up and up. Zane’s bald head and mustache also help accentuate his awfulness. And what’s the deal with Riser’s need to put orange peels on his nose?

Randy Couture does a good job as Deacon Long, a fellow professional protector. He really isn’t in the movie all that much, but it’s cool to see him act tough and beat the shit out of a guy tied to a chair. Danny Trejo pops in for what amounts to an extended cameo in one of Mickey’s flashbacks (Trejo plays an assassin disguised as a hospital orderly and has a neat little gun battle with Mickey). And James Russo has a nice little scene, too. Paige Sturges kicks goddamn ass. Watch out for that.


And then there’s Johnny Messner as Pauly. Holy shit, he may have out-sleazed Billy Zane in this movie, and that’s a major accomplishment. And when you see Messner’s mustache, his dead eye stare, and his low voice he will make your goddamn skin crawl. What a scumbag.

Final Kill is a generally well-made, solid sort of action thriller. It isn’t anything original, but it has a bevy of good performances and doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s definitely worth checking out. I liked it.

See Final Kill. See it, see it, see it.


So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: Maybe 8.

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A very ominous opening credits sequence, flipping out on a therapist, talk of anxiety, a shootout in the desert, a scuffle of sorts, bullet to the head, a guy doing something on a table, a mini-van taxi ride, weapons in the kitchen, a meltdown followed by another meltdown at night, an argument over whether or not two people are thieves, lights at night everywhere, night swimming, night drinking, a heart-to-heart talk, a hospital flashback, public water fountain maintenance, hammer attack, silenced handgun hooey, beach hooey, another heart-to-heart, a depressing story about a dead kid and a rubber ducky, chair bondage, an off screen beating, bottle to the head, a bar fist fight, a wicked head-butt to the face, drowning a guy in a pool, attempted strangulation, frying pan to the face, back of the head slicing, glass salad bowl to the back of the head, head smashed in via fridge door, punch to the back of the head, face punching, attempted baseball bat attack, attempted rape, and a standoff shootout that we don’t see the end of.

Kim Richards?: Off screen.

Gratuitous:Dr. Drew Pinsky listed in the opening credits as “Dr. Drew Pinsky,” Dr. Drew Pinsky, a drone shot of Los Angeles, a “Live Nudes” neon sign, Randy Couture, guy talk, a herpes joke, Billy Zane, “Costa Rica,” a gun hidden in the couch, a closet shotgun, Billy Zane putting an orange peel on his nose and then eating said orange, guy working on a public water fountain, Danny Trejo, Johnny Messner, Randy Couture beating the shit out a guy for some reason, a brutal kitchen brawl, a big twist, Billy Zane flipping out on the phone, and a standoff shootout that we don’t see the end of.

Best lines: “No, apparently your job is prescribing people crazy pills!,” “Who the hell are you? You shut the fuck up!,” “You stupid bastard!,” “Hey, look, a Master’s degree in bullshit!,” “I have never shaken my ass for dollar bills. Yeah, and I shave my head because it’s aerodynamic,” “Send Pauly Walnuts down there, he likes crocodiles, doom, and death!,” “Yeah, greeted by a goddamn waitress!,” “I swear I’m not gonna miss this job,” “Sure, yeah, let’s meet the Bauers! Is it gonna rain?,” “I understand… that I need to make a phone call,” “It’s like you two are on vacation. It’s insane,” “To love. It can be a bitch,” “Are we safe, Ray? Yeah, I think so,” “Hey, Mick, careful out there. Never know what you may run into,” “I fucking hate my job! Wanna switch?,” “Safest place we ever had my ass!,” “Please tell me he isn’t dead. No, not yet,” and “Hey dickless!”

The final score: review Good
The 411
Final Kill is a generally well made, solid sort of thriller that doesn’t overstay its welcome. It has a top flight B-movie cast, some good action scenes, and an interesting main character played by Ed Morrone. There’s also quite a bit of sleaze provided by Billy Zane and Johnny Messner. So be on the lookout for that. Final Kill isn’t anything we all haven’t seen before, but it works more than it doesn’t and sometimes that’s all you really need. Final Kill is definitely worth checking out, so see it, see it, see it. It’s available on DVD and Blu-ray starting April 14th, 2020.

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Final Kill, Bryan Kristopowitz