Witness to a Kill (2001) – Review

3 Stars

Gary Daniels makes a smashing James Bond-esque secret agent in the very under rated (and little seen) B-movie gem titled Diamond Cut Diamond or Witness to a Kill, depending on what region of the world you live in. Here he plays Anthony Strong, an SAS leader and queens messenger. Strong had been assigned to accompany a German girl to South Africa on a diplomatic mission, however upon their arrival in the exotic location they are quickly targeted by a group of assassins working for a diabolical mercenary known as The Wolf. It turns out that The Wolf is in the diamond smuggling trade and business is good. He plans on overthrowing the current government, that is until Captain Strong throws a wrench in the scheme.

I really liked the group of killers wearing identical Michael Jackson Halloween masks, it’s an eerie and effective Point Break homage. The payoff being the line ‘beat it asshhole’ after Daniels kicks the shit out of a baddie. It’s a good looking action thriller with a better than expected script and slick direction from ace B-movie veteran Darrell James Roodt. Look for a rooftop fight on a railway car that is as well shot and choreographed as Chuck Norris’ similar scene in Code of Silence (the standard bar for that kind of scene). My only true complaint is about the over use of camera tilts. It’s as if director Roodt had seen better filmmakers use this motif and included them in his picture for no reason other than to stylize the frame. Years ago the tilted camera angle was an ongoing and dated directorial creative flourish that is thankfully void in today’s cinema; instead we now have the shaky cam. I’m not sure if the trade off is for better or worse.

This could have been a nice little sub franchise for Daniels and company. Unfortunately there would only be one more film in the series with no word on continuing adventures. It’s a shame really as Gray Daniels is a hulking charismatic screen presence and for once his english accent works in his favor. As for Roodt, this is another cinematic example of a filmmaker stuck between the big leagues and straight-to-DVD purgatory. Read our exclusive interview with Gary Daniels.

Director: Darrell Roodt
Stars: Gary Daniels, Nick Boraine,Eva Habermann

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