Fantastic Fest: DON’T KILL IT Is A Rubber-Bullet Blast

Dolph gets the movie he deserves.

There is a scene early in Don’t Kill It in which Dolph Lundgren’s professional demon Hunter Jebediah Woodley has to be forcibly removed from a sheriff’s office while explaining himself. Except he’s Dolph Lundgren, so the two cops yanking him out of the room are only strong enough to budge him a bit here and there. He uses this opportunity to deliver a long, multi-page monologue while struggling to keep these yahoos from taking him out of the room.

It’s here where Don’t Kill It separates itself from many other DTV-type films. The level of comedy is much higher than normal, and it’s delivered by a guy who until now never had much chance to show of his skills as an actor. While it’s low budget nature limits how many will actually watch this, no one will walk away thinking Dolph gave a bad performance.

Don’t Kill It is essentially an R-rated Supernatural episode. It’s a funny, gore-driven yet pleasantly mild tale of demons who transfer to whichever body kills them in an attempt to fucking take out everyone there is. Only Dolph can stop them because only Dolph knows and will accept what he’s dealing with. 

Except that’s not exactly what happens. Dolph has a lot of bluster but ends up causing more problems than he solves, very much in the Jack Burton vein. The way he constantly leans against doors while smoking from a big vaporizer perfectly encapsulates his character’s vibe of cool yet not actually all that cool vibe. The film begins with him having sex with a lady he doesn’t realize is a prostitute. There’s one amazing scene where he talks a dad into drinking deadly poison and then killing his possessed daughter. The guy drinks the poison but dies before he can execute his important task. Dolph’s Jebediah Woodley doesn’t seem to even care that he just talked a dude into suicide for no reason.

Mike Mendez’s direction is silly enough to keep things fun, yet gory and violent enough to make sure the whole thing doesn’t become totally weightless. The result offers a good mixture of his Big Ass Spider! and The Last Heist. Occasionally he throws in some unconvincing CG gore, but for the most part the film’s carnage looks good.

Since his wacky turn as an insane priest in Johnny Mnomonic, Lundgren has shown a willingness to work outside the lines in which audiences place him. His DTV career is filled with wonderful attempts to do something different with his performances, but they are usually subtle. This one’s different. He not only gets to really run with a comedy performance, but he does so in a movie that matches his effort, showing once and for all what a fun actor he can be. I hope more people check Don’t Kill It if only to finally see the Dolph fans have been championing for years.

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