Veteran B-movie hero Michael Pare sleepwalks through the formulaic mayhem in "Mission of Death," a time-killer that already is airing on some cable networks under the title "Merchant of Death." By any name, it's the kind of generic action pic in which even the extended shootouts and slo-mo explosions are mind-foggingly dull.

Veteran B-movie hero Michael Pare sleepwalks through the formulaic mayhem in “Mission of Death,” a time-killer that already is airing on some cable networks under the title “Merchant of Death.” By any name, it’s the kind of generic action pic in which even the extended shootouts and slo-mo explosions are mind-foggingly dull.

Prologue shows a terrified youngster witnessing the brutal murders of his parents and sister by thugs intent on gaining control of the family’s farmland. The little boy grows up to be Jim Randall (Pare), a maverick cop in Portland, Ore., a place where every deserted warehouse is commandeered by criminals and an inexplicably large number of people speak with South African accents. (Closing credits reveal the 1997 production’s Johannesburg roots.) Randall is such a trigger-happy loose cannon that his superiors demand he undergo a psychiatric evaluation, cueing pic’s one mildly imaginative plot wrinkle: Under hypnosis by Dr. Winters (Linda Hoffman), Randall recalls details of the long-ago murders. After that, unfortunately, “Mission” reverts to standard-issue revenge melodrama, and Randall kills a lot of people. It’s a dirty job, but, hey, somebody’s got to do it.

Mission of Death

Production

An Artisan Entertainment release of a Nu World Services production. Produced by Danny Lerner. Executive producers: Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Danny Dimbort. Directed by Yossi Wein. Screenplay, David Sparling, Danny Lerner.

Crew

Camera (color), Peter Belcher; editor, Felix Meyburgh Jr.; music, Serge Colbert; production designer, David Varod. Reviewed on videocassette, Houston, June 15, 1999. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Michael Pare, Linda Hoffman, Anthony Fridjhon, Simon Jones, Tony Caprari.
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