Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ANGEL OF DEATH

Originally serialized on the web, comic book scribe Ed Brubaker’s ANGEL OF DEATH is an entertaining B-action flick vehicle for Kiwi stuntwoman Zoe Bell (DEATH PROOF, KILL BILL), directed by Paul Etheridge.

Bell portrays a professional hit woman named Eve, who, during a botched assassination attempt, is stabbed in the head. She survives, but finds herself haunted by visions of one of her victims, and compelled to hunt down and execute the ones who originally commissioned the hit. Of course, this doesn’t sit well with her bosses, who send other hitmen to put her down. Carnage ensues.

The story is pretty straightforward and full of comic book-styled action, with characterizations and dialogue that are somewhat better than usual for a movie of this type. Performances range from very good to, well, pretty bad. Bell is fantastic in the action scenes – as should be expected – but her acting is rather unimpressive. Doug Jones (HELLBOY 2) is excellent as the doctor who removes the knife from her brain, and Lucy Lawless (XENA) has small, but sympathetic role as Eve’s neighbor (her Southern accent’s a bit too broad, though).

Etheridge’s direction is moderately stylish, and sets a dark, gritty tone to the film. And, to his great credit, he shoots the action scenes really well; none of that over-edited shaky-cam crap here – ANGEL OF DEATH lets its action scenes play out clear and with the camera at a decent distance so that all of the extremely well-executed stuntwork can be easily followed and enjoyed by the audience.

Sony presents the short (78 minute) feature on DVD in a perfect 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer with stereo sound. Special features include a commentary track by writer Brubaker and star Bell, a "Making Of" doc, featurettes on the writing and casting, and stunts of the production, and "Eve’s Tips for Killing."

ANGEL OF DEATH is a solid little crime/action thriller and worth checking out, if only for the exceptionally well-done action sequences and stuntwork.

BUY: Angel of Death (2009)