Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Amsterdam Kill (1977)



          A soulless thriller directed with palpable indifference by Robert Clouse, The Amsterdam Kill tells the uninteresting story of an ex-DEA agent who sorta-kinda teams up with a Chinese drug lord in order to dismantle a heroin cartel operating in Amsterdam and Hong Kong. Along the way, the duo’s exploits reveal corruption among law enforcement, so by the end of the whole mess, the antihero ex-DEA guy incarnates that hoariest of clichés, the Last Honorable Man in a Dishonorable World. The presence of venerable big-screen bruiser Robert Mitchum in the leading role would seem like reason enough to watch the picture, but the combination of Mitchum’s bored performance and a periodically incoherent storyline works drains vitality from The Amsterdam Kill. Only the noisy intrusion of a violent action scene every few minutes keeps The Amsterdam Kill from seeming like an outright waste of film. Perhaps the best one could say is that the picture is agile and brisk but also hopelessly generic and pointless.
          Things get started when aging drug dealer Chung Wei (Keye Luke) decides to retire and sell information about his competitors to the DEA. His exact motivation for doing so is never satisfactorily explained. Rather than dealing directly with the agency, Wei contacts Larry Quinlan (Mitchum), a disgraced former agent. Quinlan selects Hong Kong-based DEA agent Howard Odums (Bradford Dillman) as his middleman. Also part of the mix is Amsterdam-based DEA agent Riley Knight (Leslie Nielsen). Each time Wei gives Quinlan a tip, Quinlan and his associates arrange a sting operation, but early maneuvers go badly, revealing a leak in the DEA’s operation. Eventually, circumstances throw Quinlan’s motivation into question, as well, particularly once he becomes obsessed with plugging the DEA leak. How is that his problem? Very little of what happens in The Amsterdam Kill makes sense, but a lot of it is colorful and manly. Hell, Mitchum even gets to use heavy construction equipment as a murder weapon during the finale.

The Amsterdam Kill: FUNKY

1 comment:

cjm said...

Key Luke, Leslie Nielsen, and Robert Mitchum, and it's still a dud?! That is some messed up movie....