Hey folks, here's a trailer for BIG KILL... that makes me miss independent Westerns.
I can actually see a story worth telling trying to emerge underneath all of the clichés and tropes and references to better Westerns, such as SILVERADO and maybe a little nod to my favorite Western ever, BARBAROSA. This movie is written and directed by one of its leads, Scott Martin (BATTLE FORCE). It has Jason Patric, Lou Diamond Phillips (sadly, no Keifer Sutherland for the hat trick), Michael Paré, and Elizabeth McLaughlin ("Hand of God"). That's a pretty good cast for your support roles. That they chose to hype the small role Danny Trejo plays as first-billed on the trailer verbage is a sign of trouble. But all of these actors... Phillips, Trejo, Paré, and Patric-- are GOOD actors with the right material. It's certainly not stunt casting to have any of them in it... but it feels cynical... which only the finished film can confirm or deny.
It's the main cast that really intrigues me, the mostly-unknowns in the key roles. Martin brought some of his favorite BATTLE FORCE actors back for this one, such as Stephanie Beran and Clint Hummel. Christoph Sanders ("Last Man Standing") seems really believable and even as the lead character Jim Andrews in the bits with Martin and Hummel. Except for Trejo's bit, Phillips' underappreciated gunfighter (and I actually appreciate the two protagonists and their approach to dealing with a gunfighter-- pretend you don't know him and play it cool), and a briefly uber-knife-y Beran... the acting doesn't seem over-the-top. The gunfight doesn't try to evoke Kurt Russel's well-earned rage in TOMBSTONE, and that's the best compliment I can give it from the trailer-- the obvious temptation that would have destroyed it.
My best guess on BIG KILL is that instead of making a tight little independent Western, they wanted to make this look like something top-shelf that you missed when you see it on the DVD shelf or on your cable channel. I see a lot of horror films making similar moves... the purity of an independent often means obscurity in the open market. Rather than passing on this due to its cast, I think I'll watch this. I wanna believe that there's something earnest amid all the glitter in this, that there's a good movie underneath the things in this trailer that worry me.
BIG KILL is in theaters October 19th.
-- Precious Roy