William Kaufman is one of the elite few DTV directors whose names I remember in a positive way. So far he’s not an identifiable master of a style like Hyams or Florentine, and doesn’t have as many under his belt as Roel Reine, but he’s done enough that I keep an eye out. THE HIT LIST is a real solid Larry Cohen-esque high concept thriller that could’ve been a theatrical release if it starred somebody more theatrical-release friendly than Cole Hauser. SINNERS AND SAINTS is messier but earnest and with some distinctive touches. Both have a little bit of a political subtext that hints at an authortational type voice.
ONE IN THE CHAMBER is Kaufman’s newest, and has his best cast so far, by which I mean Dolph Lundgren is in it. Unfortunately I don’t think this one is really a step forward. Story-wise it’s more direct than SAINTS AND SINNERS, but not nearly as clever or gripping as HIT LIST. It’s about a war between Russian crime families (never really a good subject for a DTV movie) in Prague. Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Ray Carver, not the author of Short Cuts (I don’t think) but an elite killer who’s hired to off some guys but fails to shoot one because the guy uses a woman as a shield and Carver has human feelings, etc., so that gets him fired. His replacement is Aleksey the Wolf, played by Dolph. He’s not in the first 25 minutes of the movie, but as soon as he shows up he steals the whole thing. (read the rest of this shit…)