I never really grew aware of the term, Krautsploitation. Apparently that’s the subgenre of independent action flicks rolling out of Germany with respect to titles like Nico Sentner’s 2015 action film, Atomic Eden – that one never sat well me and even, to this day, boggles the mind as to why some fanboys love it.
Going forward however, the more revelant news now turns us toward that film’s co-star, writer and producer Dominick Starck who makes his entry this week by way of Starck Entertainment and R.J. Nier Films at the Cannes market for his debut, The Hitman Agency courtesy of sales reps, Generation X Group GmbH. Everett Ray Aponte leads the cast with Erik Hansen, and 11 time kickboxing champion Don “The Dragon” Wilson also starring.
The ambitious professional hitman Lucas Kane (EVERETT RAY APONTE) hunts and tortures his old predecessor Joseph Kyler (ERIK HANSEN) in the basement of his European home to retrieve incriminating evidence about their mutual contractors. Lucas keeps interrogating the retired assassin with a big target mark on his head only to reveal the lies and corruption of the international hitman agency by taking a journey through the manipulations of the old man’s past.
While being a deliberately different type of movie, THE HITMAN AGENCY features a special appearance by 11 time kickboxing champion Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson from BLOODFIST-fame. Starring American-born Erik Hansen (THE COUNTESS) and LA-based Everett Ray Aponte (ATOMIC EDEN) as competing hitmen from different ends of their assassin-careers, THE HITMAN AGENCY is a character-driven conspiracy-thriller with twists and turns, spiced with some martial arts outbreaks and assassinations. Shot on locations in Germany in English with more blood, sweat, and tears than a real budget, this underdog movie is proof to the phrase that nothing can stop you from making a movie when you really want it. Not even in Germany where there’s no platform for genre films at all.
A trailer is already running as well while concurrent U.S. rights have also gone to Amazon.com where the film is now available for rent or purchase. Not to be outdone by mere short term promotion, Starck has also unveiled a directors’ statement to coincide with the film’s PR. Usually I try to keep these articles short and simple though my guess is it’s only necessary to share it given the politics that comes with being an independent filmmaker, particularly in Germany.
Starck makes his case just below the trailer, so feel free to read at your own leisure.
“I like unpredictable movies. Unfortunately, most movies nowadays tend to repeat genre tropes or use the most common ground to satisfy its wide audience. As an audience member I don’t want to know how the movie ends ten minutes in. And, consequently, as a storyteller I don’t want to insult my audience by going the obvious way. THE HITMAN AGENCY centers around questions like, can you do a wrong thing for the right reasons or is it the right thing for the wrong reason, in reality? If you’re doing the right thing for the wrong reasons isn’t the right thing wrong by its nature? Like a character puts into words throughout the movie, decisions are based on personal experience but if your experiences are false and your life changing information fake news then your decisions are doomed to be terrible mistakes. Take that dilemma to the world of professional assassinations and you’re in big trouble. This movie was born from the intimate play of two competing, deadly men in one room without going the obvious route of torture and violence. As a film maker I consider myself a storyteller first and foremost. So, when I trap two hitmen in a room, the way they deal with each other is not through physical threats but through stories. If your whole life is a lie who can you trust? In the end; life is the biggest killer of them all! Another key point is the confrontation of old versus young, experience versus technology. It took our protagonist, now in his 60’s, half a lifetime to realize the point of his life, but is it too late now or will he be able to play his cards against all odds? In the end, it’s also a love story. The hero’s journey took our Joe Everybody to a place he hoped to find some love, but it ended in a tragedy. It wasn’t romantic love like we picture it, but it was the thing closest to that to a young man on the edge. He turned to the dark side as it happened to other tragic cinema heroes (think Darth Vader in STAR WARS) but there might be redemption somewhere down the road. Even if that means to cause even more wrongs. A story that was intended to be two men, a chair and a room expanded during the development process and all of a sudden I ended up having a hitman’s biopic at my disposal. For running time and budget reasons I had to condense that back into a reasonable amount of flashback storytelling in a very HIGHLANDER-way. Yet, all the elements from modern classic hitman-movies that inspired me for years are there: the mentorship aspects of Luc Besson’s LÉON: THE PROFESSIONAL, the conspiracy themes and the methodic work ethics shown in Richard Donner’s ASSASSINS and even a dash of romance and humor that was infused by the romantic hitman comedy GROSSE POINT BLANK, starring an outstanding John Cusack. And yet, THE HITMAN AGENCY goes even further back to all the FRANKENSTEIN adaptations; a misguided, deadly creature of a sinister agency dealing lives for a living that turns on its creator is at the very heart of THE HITMAN AGENCY. To me, this movie is not as much about its budget restrictions (or the fact that genre films are not considered to get state funding in Germany) but interwoven complex characters and the need for redemption. If necessary at any cost.”