Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 10th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1973 (The Doll Squad), USA, 1991 (Mission: Killfast)
Director: Ted V. Mikels (Both Films)
Cast: Michael Ansara, Francine York, Anthony Eisley, John Carter, Lisa Todd, Rafael Campos, Lillian Garrett (The Doll Squad), Cheng-Wu Yang, Sharon Hughes, Sonny King, Ronald Gregg, Myron Natwick, Rex Ravelle (Mission: Killfast)
BluRay released: September 10th, 2013
Approximate running times: 91 minutes (The Doll Squad), 96 minutes (Mission: Killfast)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive (Both Films)
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English (Both Films)
BluRay Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $21.98
The plot is simple, your basic good verse evil with no grey area to complicate things. Content wise it is easy to draws comparisons between this film and the James Bond Franchise. Some might even say that this film helped inspire the television series Charlie’s Angels.
Though light on substance the film does know how to pander and then some to its intended audience. There is never a shortage of action or voluminous women on display, most of whom are the ones kicking ass. And the majority of the more drama related moments are hard to watch due to the cringe worthy dialog and wooden performances from the entire cast.
From a production stand point things hold up a lot better than one would expect considering some of this film’s short comings, most notably the film’s cinematography which gives the film a polished look that elevates it beyond its meager resources. Other areas this film holds up really well include its infectious score and well executed action set pieces.
Reportedly due to financial and other reasons this film took nearly a decade to complete. Surprisingly the filmmakers were able to merge effortlessly film sources that occurred a decade apart.
Growing up, Cinemax and channels like it were my gateway to more salacious content that now is readily available in this internet obsessed society we now live in. And back then their seemed to be plethora of babes who kicked ass movies and wore little while kicking said ass. Most notably the films of Andy Sidaris (Malibu Express, Hard Hunted) and it is precisely these types of film’s that Mission: Killfast so desperately wants to emulate.
The plot though straight forward in concept keeps convoluted along the way and while some of this may be due to the stop and go nature of this film production. It does not make the end result any more enjoyable to sit through. Also the action set pieces this time around felt more like show pieces for this film’s leading man Cheng-Wu Yang (Tiger Yang), instead of following within the story at hand.
In closing there are fare to many other areas that just don’t work to list them all, let me just surmise them by saying many of the shortcoming in The Doll Squad rear their ugly head here in Mission: Killfast and in spades this time around.
Both films’ are presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Color reproduction looks very good on both films. Details generally look crisp and there are no issues with compression. Grain when present looks natural an print debris is minimal. It should be noted that during some of the darker moments that the image lacks the crispiness that is present throughout the majority of these transfers.
Each film comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English and also included with this release are removable English subtitles. Considering the limitations of the sources used for these audio mixes everything sounds very good as dialog is easy enough to follow and the robust when it needs to be.
Extras for this release include reversible cover art, a trailer for The Doll Squad, three interviews, two of them with director Ted V. Mikels, the first interview is a collection of outtakes from the 2006 documentary American Grindhouse (8 minutes 5 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), the second interview also with Ted V. Mikels who discusses Mission: Killfast (8 minutes 51 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and the third interview with actress Francine York (8 minutes 5 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and an audio commentary with Ted V. Mikels for The Doll Squad.
The interview with Ted V. Mikels discussing Mission: Killfast though brief in length it does contain all the essential info like the origins of the project, how it took nearly a decade to complete and the cast. Topics discussed in the interview with Francine York include working with Ted V. Mikels and the cast. The audio commentary track is a detailed look into the ‘making of’ The Doll Squad that is equally informative and entertaining in content. Overall a pair of Ted V. Mikels film’s make their way to Hi Def via a first rate release from Vinegar Syndrome.