Action Movie Fanatix Review: Instinct to Kill

Instinct to Kill banner

He’s On The Loose…
And Hungry For Blood.

Starring: Mark Dacascos, Melissa Crider, Tim Abell, James Greene, Jill Jacobson, Kadeem Hardison

Director: Gustavo Graef-Marino

2001  |  91 Minutes  |  Rated R

“Yeah, I can teach you things.  But they don’t mean squat unless you have the instinct to survive.” – J.T. Dillon

Instinct to Kill is another B-movie offering from Mark Dacascos.  As with a rather large portion of my DVD library, I picked this up at my favorite local pawn shop.  They were having a sale – $1 per movie!!!  Instinct to Kill would be worth $1 to me even if it sucked.  I would pay a buck to have this thing sit on my shelf just so I can say I have it, although I don’t foresee any instance in my life in which I will have to prove I do in fact own Instinct to Kill.

Teresa “Tess” Beckett’s (Melissa Crider) master-of-disguise husband, James “Jim” (Tim Abell) is a crazed serial killer and now that he’s escaped prison she’s the target – so she hires J.T. Dillon (Mark Dacascos), a former mercenary, to teach her self-defense.  But will she be ready before the murderer strikes?

The answer to that last question is NO.  Tess would have tied 10 times over throughout the movie had it not been for J.T. watching her ass.

J.T. Dillon is a cool as a cucumber former cop, former mercenary and it’s probably one of Mark Dacascos’ better performances.  Not necessarily his best movie.  Not his best fights.  But he puts forth a really solid acting effort.

Honestly, the performances of the entire cast are all pretty strong.  They are hampered by a hokey story and some pretty horrible dialogue but nobody is here just picking up a paycheck.

Tim Abell’s Jim Beckett is the headbutt happy murdering psycho of the movie who’s not above dressing as a hunchbacked old lady to get his kill.  He also kind of reminds me of Dennis from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and if you have ever seen the show you know that Dennis is only a stone’s throw away from a murdering obsessive psychopath anyway.  And surprise, surprise Jim Beckett drives a windowless van.  Bet you never saw that one coming.

I never understand why movie makers take regular, average joe thugs and have them perform martial arts type moves.  The first fight of the movie has this big flannel wearing thug throwing a spinning back kick.  It just doesn’t make any sense to someone watching.  This type of character should be throwing haymakers, breaking bottles and pool cues for weapons not showing off their capoeira skills.

Other than that maybe nitpicky little thing the action isn’t too bad.  Mark Dacascos gets to use his REAL martial arts skills on a number of occasions and there are guns being fired throughout and explosions here and there.  Somebody must have had a checklist about what action fans want when making this movie because they checked most of the major boxes and did so with some oomph behind it.  No pussy footin’ around.  No apologizing for being an action movie.  That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

If it weren’t for all the sex, violence and Dacascos you would swear this was a Sunday afternoon Lifetime movie… that or an episode of Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?  As a whole Instinct to Kill doesn’t quite live up to the promise that a name like Instinct to Kill would conjure up but it’s a pretty solid DTV action movie.  Even with the mediocre script I never felt like the movie was dragging.  I’d actually recommend it so long as you have nothing better going on.

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