HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Betterman
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Mirai
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Stiletto Kill Virgil?
Year: 2008
Director: Nick Villelonga
Stars: Stana Katic, Tom Berenger, Michael Biehn, Paul Sloan, William Forsythe, Diane Venora, Kelly Hu, Amanda Brooks, James Russo, Tom Sizemore, Dominique Swain, Tony Lip, D.B. Sweeney, David Proval, Robert R. Shafer
Genre: Action, Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Mob boss Virgil Vadalos (Tom Berenger) is sharing a steam room conference with his Mexican rival when they are brutally attacked by Raina (Stana Katic), his hooker ex-girlfriend turned vengeful assassin, who leaves them for dead. Virgil survives however and orders corrupt LAPD detective Beck (Paul Sloan, also the film’s screenwriter) to find out why his onetime lover is killing criminals around town. His other problem is the disappearance of two million dollars in cash. Virgil’s top two henchmen: broody Lee (Michael Biehn) and scheming Alex (William Forsythe) suspect each other of the theft. In the meantime Raina continues seducing then killing mobsters, working her way towards a second shot at Virgil.

Given that Quentin Tarantino drew such notoriety with his magpie approach to filmmaking, riffing on Hong Kong movies and Seventies exploitation, it is perhaps fitting so many DTV filmmakers rip him off. Actor-turned-director Nick Villelonga has been a DTV stalwart ever since A Brilliant Disguise (1994) an erotic thriller starring Lysette Anthony. Remember her? He made the sci-fi actioner B.E.I.N.G (2005) and The Corporate Ladder (1997), a sexy drama set in the world of big business for The Playboy Channel but came to specialise in ambitious low-budget crime epics such as In the Kingdom of the Blind, the Man with One Eye is King (1995). Lately, Villelonga has continued collaborating with actor-screenwriter Paul Sloan. Their low budget western Yellow Rock (2011) earned some acclaim.

As a child actor Villelonga had his first brush with filmmaking as an extra at the wedding scene in The Godfather (1972). The Godfather influence is apparent from Tom Berenger’s opening monologue even though “kill everyone” is a lot less profound and ambiguous a line than “I believe in America.” Nevertheless, it is the Tarantino riffs that are front and centre in Stiletto. Like Kill Bill (2003) the plot follows a wronged woman on a roaring rampage of revenge against an older lover-cum-mob boss, gradually eliminating minor league villains played by special guest stars. Alongside the trifecta of Berenger, Biehn and Forsythe the film gives us Tom Sizemore as a middle-aged hip-hop wannabe, Diane Venora as Virgil’s distraught wife, Kelly Hu as Beck’s partner both on and off the case and Dominique Swain as a pregnant hooker friend of Raina’s. As Raina murders her way through the movie, Sloan and Villelonga lift scenes from True Romance (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994) and Reservoir Dogs (1992) with an extreme torture sequence where Michael Biehn takes an electric sander to D.B. Sweeney. Remarkably the filmmakers even throw in a nod to Grindhouse (2007) with a film-within-a-film sequence where Stana Katic disguises herself as a bespectacled geek to off one villain at a horror movie marathon. A shoot-out at a Japanese restaurant where mob men watch sexy samurai chicks battle with wooden swords also evokes memories of the “House of Blue Leaves” sequence in Kill Bill but comes across more Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991).

The film echoes some of Tarantino’s strengths such as utilising under-appreciated actors in lively eccentric roles and quirky character interplay - e.g. Lee’s relationship with his crazy, foul-mouthed, sadomasochistic British girlfriend Penny (Amanda Brooks) - but also some of his flaws including casual racism and misogyny. Villelonga does not stint on the scantily-clad eye-candy but it is unnerving how many scenes feature macho men pacifying hysterical women with a good hard shag. It is less overtly stylised than Kill Bill and consequently slightly more believable with a pronounced streak of melancholy that is quite interesting as corrupt cop Beck grows to realise he is as much Virgil’s property as Raina was. The ambiguous finale is another nice touch. Despite an abundance of recognisable names among the supporting players the film was sold on the strength of an early lead role for model turned actress Stana Katic. Katic had a small part in Quantum of Solace (2008) but Stiletto came out the same year she landed her breakout role opposite Nathan Fillion in the delightful detective show Castle. Here she shows some star quality with a committed performance but has surprisingly little screen time as the avenging angel. The film is too enamoured of scenes with macho mobsters mumbling meaningful monologues to muster the kind of wit, pace and panache that quantifies a great exploitation movie.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2581 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: