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  Killing American Style Make Yourself At Home
Year: 1990
Director: Amir Shervan
Stars: Harold Diamond, Jim Brown, Robert Z'Dar, Joselito Rescober, John Lynch, Veronica Paul, Jimmy Williams, G. Alexander Virdon, Bret Johnston, Buck Striker, Keith Rosary, Don Jean Brown, Terry Amos, Allen Perada, Sandy Palm, Delia Sheppard
Genre: Action, Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Lynch (John Lynch) is auditioning young dancers but remains unsatisfied with who is on offer until he sees one woman who seems to have it all, so he takes her into the back office and begins to make love to her. Just as he is well into the canoodling stage, there is a knock on the door – it’s his associate Tony Stone (Robert Z'Dar) and he must tear him away so they can carry out a heist he has planned on an ice cream van depot. This place will be heavily guarded with armed men for some reason, so Stone and his gang must be ready, and as they seek to liberate a bag stuffed with cash they get into a shootout that has most of the guards dead and he and his men getting away with the loot. However, Lieutenant Sunset (Jim Brown) is on to them…

Killing American Style was the movie made following Samurai Cop in director Amir Shervan’s idiosyncratic canon, though it was not distinctive enough to gather much of a cult following as that embarrassment had done, and certainly not worth a high camp sequel many years after the fact. Shervan, an Iranian ex-pat in the United States, was long dead by the point his oeuvre was reassessed by bad movie fans as not something to be dismissed for its cheap and cheerful action shenanigans, but as something that could generate a goodly amount of laughter, and Samurai Cop, not to mention the earlier Hollywood Cop, were assuredly in that category. However, this little item was rather neglected.

Partly that was down to being out of circulation for a long time, even believed to be a lost film, but once it was found and rereleased it didn’t take off in the same way as the other two, better known efforts from Shervan did, and on watching it you can kind of see why. There were bits that coaxed a few laughs out of the viewer, but once it settled down into ripping off the Desperate Hours remake that was been out the same year, it didn’t half get bogged down in overserious posturing, and to make matters decidedly non-hilarious he chose to include a rape scene that soured what could have been amusingly daft, much as Michael Winner would in his worst excesses. Aside from that grave misstep, Killing American Style remained foolish, but a bit of a grind.

But what of our star? No, not Jim Brown, he was evidently hired for as little time as they could afford and his scenes could in all truth be left out of the final product altogether with no difference to the overall effect, such was the impact of his occasional appearances dotted throughout the narrative. And not Robert Z'Dar, either, the heavy of many a low rent action flick whose cherubism made him one of the most distinctive performers in the lower budget arena, though he had as much to do here as Harold Diamond, who really was the leading man. He had made his name in martial arts as a reputedly undefeated champion, so naturally Hollywood beckoned and so it was he was featured in a few movies, the highest profile of which was Rambo III, if you can call a flop like that high profile.

Anyway, the fates contrived to place him in the impoverished end of the entertainment industry, which is why we found him here as the man whose home is invaded by Stone and his heavies. His character John Morgan fitted the template of most of the men here in that for much of the time they bared their shaved, barrel chests in customary beefcake style that had you pondering who Shervan thought he was appealing to – there were a few bared female chests as well, but they were far more perfunctory than the manflesh on regular display. We know Morgan is a badass because when he takes his suspiciously blond son (both he and the wife are raven-haired) to martial arts practice he gets into full-on hand-to-hand combat with another dad in the ring, neither in no way overcompensating, of course. But it’s how far Morgan and especially Lynch (who the others call by name about a billion times in case you’ve forgotten it) will push Morgan till he snaps that concerns us here, leading up far too slowly to another shootout, mixed with a fistfight with a few roundhouse kicks thrown in, in the Jean-Claude Van Damme manner. Tinny electro-music by Alan DerMarderosian.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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