Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested DVDs
Leslie Nielsen has a license to kill...
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 08/14/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"PROJECT: KILL (1976) has one overriding feature which makes it virtually impossible for a modern-day audience to take the film seriously. And it's something that the filmmakers at the time would have had no control over. Namely, the fact that the star of their movie is Leslie Nielsen as a ninja-like fighting machine.
Remember, this is Leslie Nielsen just before his roles in AIRPLANE and THE NAKED GUN series. He was actually a serious actor at one point in the distant past. But -- for me -- once I've seen him in those unforgettable comedies, I find it very difficult to go back and view his straight work without smirking and giggling. During the fight sequences, I kept expecting cartoon sound effects or extra limbs coming out of nowhere to smack bad guys.
Still, while it's terribly unfair of me to criticize a movie for something that the filmmakers could not possibly have known about (unless they had a crystal ball in which to anticipate Leslie Nielsen's future career), it's something that virtually every member of the modern audience is going to bring to the table. And it does help the movie during slower parts. Every time you feel your attention flagging, just remind yourself that this is a drug-addled super secret agent played by Leslie Nielsen, and you can't help but at least crack a smile.
As the story begins, we're introduced to two agents, played by Leslie Nielsen and Gary Lockwood (the guy who got turned into a god in the second Star Trek pilot). The title of the film refers to a secret US Government training program for its agents. Trainees are pumped full of mind-altering, addictive drugs and forced to watch lots of ninja movies (sounds like an average Friday night for undergrads). This causes the subjects to become super-human fighting machines. They become coiled springs, ready to attack and kill at any moment.
They are so well trained, in fact, that they can easily lose control. Maintaining the advantage over their newfound killer instincts requires the use of even more mind-affecting drugs. Indeed, an innocent tap on Leslie Nielsen's shoulder nearly ends the life of his unfortunate love-interest. And Gary Lockwood's training causes him to repeated punch his opponent forcefully in the groin. I don't want to know what film entered that move into his physical lexicon. (Oh, and in the beginning we learn that trainees are taught how to use anything as a weapon. Even, the movie claims, toenail clippings. I really with we'd seen this in action. Seeing Leslie Nielsen attack some punk armed only with a toenail clipping could have propelled this movie into the AFI's list of top 100 all-time movies.)
Getting back to the plot, Nielsen's character (one of them men in charge of the project) has a crisis of faith, and flees the organization, forcing his underling (Lockwood) to spend the entire movie tracking him down. I found the script a little unclear on what Nielsen is running towards. There's a drug smuggling operation going on somewhere, but I was baffled as to how exactly Nielsen was related to it. And I watched some sequences more than once so it wasn't as if my attention wandered. The script just doesn't seem clear on a lot of points.
I did enjoy this movie for the parts which were genuinely good and for the parts which are delightfully cheesy. This is not a great movie, but it is certainly entertaining. It's a pretty standard action-adventure with the requisite number of fight sequences, criminal bad guys and unlikely romantic partnerships.
Nielsen's performance is fairly good. His character is not only disillusioned with the training organization, but by fleeing he has removed himself from his source of control medication. The portions of the film where he's fighting to keep himself mentally together are very effective.
My copy of this is the unbelievably inexpensive version released by Digiview Productions. It's a very watchable edition, though I found the sound a little too soft in places. This isn't a great transfer, but it isn't a great movie either, so any deficiencies in the DVD itself probably won't greatly affect one's enjoyment. I mean, when a telephone conversation between Lockwood and his superior makes the unseen boss sound like his record is revolving at the wrong RPM, it really doesn't matter if there's a slight hiss in the background.
Go into this film with the realization that its Leslie Nielsen in a 1970s action-adventure movie with a goofy title, and you should glean some fun from it. There are some gritty sequences where one discovers that the filmmakers were going for a much darker film than one would think. Indeed, on the face of it, this is a very gritty sort of film. It's simply let down by the fact that a lot the actual plot is confusing and poorly explained. But ignore all that and just hope to be entertained. Lower your expectations and try to have some fun."