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With: Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, Michael Madsen, Jon Gries, Bibi Besch, Nick Dimitri
Written by: John Dahl, David W. Warfield
Directed by: John Dahl
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 94
Date: 10/27/1989

Kill Me Again (1989)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Eighties Noir

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

John Dahl's debut feature finds him already immersed in the world of film noir, and it's easy to tell that, unlike many others, he was not just paying tribute to the genre, but was somehow experiencing it from within. Even so, Kill Me Again is a bit clumsy here and there, and doesn't really compare to Dahl's second feature, Red Rock West, which would establish his career. Val Kilmer stars as Jack Andrews, a Reno private eye, $10,000 in debt to some local thugs. Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, who had just married Val in real life, is the femme fatale; she and her dangerous boyfriend Vince (Michael Madsen) steal a suitcase full of money. She then tries to betray Vince by hiring Jack to fake her death. She promises to pay enough to settle Jack's debts, so he takes the job. But he's dazzled by her sex appeal and she skips down with half the money. A few more double-crosses follow, as well as a showdown on an Indian Reservation. Whalley-Kilmer is adorable, but not a particularly good femme fatale. She's a little too cute and not particularly cunning (one suspects that she was part of a package deal with her husband). Additionally, Dahl takes a few little shortcuts here and there during action and fight scenes, perhaps not quite comfortable with the camera just yet. But overall, the movie plays like a decent "B" level noir, certainly worth viewing for fans of the genre. It was an MGM release back in the day, and now Olive Films has released it on Blu-ray for 2016. A trailer is the only extra.

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