It’s 10:50 pm
Was out and about doing a little media hunting and looking for something fun for the cheetah and I to watch…I looked high and low until I spotted the cover of “Angel of Death” and saw Zoe Bell looking back at me. When I first started doing reviews with Paladin,the fourth film we reviewed and the only Asylum movie we have talked about on here,”Mercenaries” featured Zoe as a member of an elite group of women warriors,it was the Asylum’s answer to “The Expendables”.
While we have seen Zoe’s work as Cate Blanchett’s stunt double in “Thor: Ragnarok”,we haven’t seen her as a actress since “Mercenaries” so I knew we had to pick “Angel of Death” up.
This is a very different film….producer John Norris is a huge fan of both classic pulp heroes like The Shadow and noir films. He approached Ed Brubaker who is a well known comic book writer about the rights to a project,when that wasn’t possible,Brubaker told Norris he was working on a brand new idea and Norris secured the rights. The project turned out to be “Angel of Death”.
What made “Angel” so different was that Norris and his directing partner Paul Etheredge developed the film as a digital series for Crackle.com and it was broken up into 8-10 minute “chapters” for Crackle and then being re-edited for a DVD release (of which we got). This wasn’t the first time I have seen a film done like this,Christian Sesma and Paul Sloan,who teamed up for the excellent “The Night Crew“,also shot “The Vigilante Diaries” the same way to mixed results,it wasn’t until after “Vigil” was out that they decided to make one feature film and it was poorly edited,it wasn’t designed as a feature length film where as “Angel of Death” was and why it looked so much better in terms of editing and storytelling,
Norris and Etheredge also knew going in that they really wanted “Angel of Death” to star Zoe Bell who was coming off her real big role in “Death Proof” for Quentin Taratino.
While Bell was known for her stunt work,she was starting to gain some traction as a actress as well and Norris and Etheredge really went to bat with Sony to cast her as Eve.
It’s a wonderful thing to see one’s faith in another’s potential because Zoe Bell is a natural (as we noted in “Mercenaries”).
In “Angel of Death”,she plays “Eve”,an assassin for a mob family in Los Angeles. She both sleeps and gets assignments from Graham Prescott (Brian Poth). When she is assigned a new target,she is given a new trainee named Franklin (Justin Huen) to help break him in. Eve at first doesn’t want the extra weight but Graham says she has no choice in the matter.
What seems like a easy job blows up as Eve is surprised by her target’s teenage daughter coming home unexpectedly,the teen’s bodyguards attack Eve and while she manages to kill one,the other stabs her in the head and causing Eve to accidentally shoot and kill the daughter.
She manages to escape with Franklin’s help and with the knife still in her head,is taken to see a mob doctor (Doug Jones) who happens to be a drug addict. He takes the knife out and patches up Eve. She is then taken back to Prescott’s home and in put in bed.
While she recovers,we see that Prescott is working with a FBI agent in turning evidence against the Downes crime family. It seems that Prescott has a black book full of critical intel that would help bring down the Downes family for good.
Eve slowly recovers and wants back on the action but she is starting to see visions of the girl she killed and can no longer kill any more targets. Mr. Max,who is Prescott’s capo,feels that Eve should go away but Prescott insists she’ll be okay….Max says she better or else Prescott and her both will go down for good.
Eve finally has reached a breaking point and haunted by her mistake,decides to go to war on her own allies,she kills a bunch of mobsters,including Mr. Max and that in turn makes her enemy number one to Cameron Downes,the new leader of the crime family.
Now Eve is being hunted by both friends and enemies and the only question is who will find her first……
So did the cheetah and I like “Angel of Death”? Yeah,I think for what it is,an original premise shot on a shoestring budget with just enough star power to attract an audience,”Angel” meets its goals…..establish Zoe Bell as an action star,create a movie that basically is one of the first films designed to be seen on a streaming service and do it in a film noir style that shows shades of the 60s and 70s.
Zoe’s stunt background comes in play in many of the great hand to hand fight scenes,she is a bad ass who not take a punch but looks completely capable of whipping anyone’s ass as well. She is given solid support by her young co-stars Poth and Huen as well as fanboy favorites Doug Jones (Hellboy) and Lucy Lawless (Xena). The fact that Bell worked as a stuntperson on “Xena” and that Lawless was kind enough to do a cameo on Bell’s first leading role,shows just how respect Lawless has for Bell.
My only complaints about “Angel” was the lighting was so poor in most of the interior shots,it made a lot of action pieces murky,everything was so muted and colorless that it really distracted from the film in key scenes.
The story was pretty basic and one you have seen before many times but its stilled directed extremely well by Etheredge so sadly,hasn’t directed anything since “Angel” and I think that is a real shame,he has a flair for it.
“Angel of Death” is rated “R” and has a cast and crew commentary that includes Bell and Brubaker. It has a ton of special features including Bell’s screen test and a “making of…” featutette. Angel has a run time of 78 minutes.
The cheetah and I both enjoyed this and we gave “Angel” a thumbs/paws straight up.
Who is your current favorite action star at the moment? Drop a answer below in the comment box below!