Film Review: Out Of Death
Director: Mike Burns
Cast: Jaime King, Bruce Willis, Lala Kent, Tyler Jon Olson, Michael Sirow, Kelly Greyson, Megan Leonard
Running Time: 95
Australian Distributor: VOD through Vudu and iTunes
Sometimes it is the most simplest of plots that seem to work the best. That is certainly the case for Mike Burns(Peace, Love & Beats) fictional feature debut Out Of Death that takes the western cop feel of a show like Justified and brings it to movie format.
The plot itself is pretty basic. Photographer Shannon (Jaime King – Sin City) heads to the hills to scatter her father’s ashes, but as she does so she witnesses corrupt Police Officer Billie (Lala Kent – Hard Kill) execute a man when a drug deal goes wrong.
Knowing that her actions have been witnessed Billie calls in back-up from her colleague (who burns a flame for her) Tom (Tyler Jon Olson – Force Of Nature) and her criminal master-mind and local Sheriff Hank Rivers (Michael Sirow – The Good Guy). Hank is furious at what has happened and orders Billie and Tom to ‘put down’ Shannon as quickly as they can.
Unbeknownst to them though also in the area is retired Police Officer Jack Harris (Bruce Willis – Die Hard) who has come to the hills to visit his niece Pam (Kelly Greyson – Little Boy) after the death of his wife. The result is a cat and mouse game with Billie and Tom doing all they can to kill Shannon while Jack works hard to protect her.
Out Of Death is certainly not going to win any Oscars but it certainly isn’t the worse film that you are going to watch this year either. First-time Screenwriter Bill Lawrence shows that he has some great writing talents by doing something that films like these rarely do – and that is give most of his bad guys (and gals) characterisation. Both Billie and Tom are made interesting with some pretty basic tricks – making Billie a single Mum acts as giving her at least one redeemable quality while making Tom a hard-edged character but with a flame for Billie also adds to his character. It’s a pity the same element couldn’t have also been used with Hank but he admittedly does become a token bad guy and at times you almost wonder whether or not he is needed or not.
The action sequences are largely kept pretty basic not only because of budget restraints but also because Covid restrictions restricted how many people could be on set in one day. But that back-to-basics feel actually doesn’t work against the film – instead it makes the film feel more natural which in turn at times adds to the suspense of the film.
Those Covid restriction also meant that the film’s star, Bruce Willis, could only be on set for one day, which again doesn’t show in the film. Willis does what he has to do – points his gun at a few people, snarls during face offs and throws a few punches. He is certainly not disappointing in any way.
Having said that though in a strange move from the norm it is Lala Kent and Tyler Jon Olson that carry this movie most of the time. It is a strange thing to say but they do such a great job that there are times as an audience where you find yourself wanting the point-of-view to switch back to the two villains to see what they are doing. The banter between them, especially when they discuss their life choices, is one of the highlights of the film and the two actors seem to relish the roles that they are given. In a lot of ways Kent and Olson are the reason that Out Of Death is a more pleasurable viewing experience than a lot of people would expect it to be.
Like I said Out Of Death is certainly not going to be an award-winner but at the same time you aren’t exactly going to be wasting your time by watching it either. Bruce Willis is serviceable in the film while Bill Lawrence decision to give Lala Kent and Tyler Jon Olson some interesting characters to work with makes this film a good way to waste an afternoon or evening.
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