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Murder Company (2024) Review

Murder Company opens on June 4th 1944, two days before the D-Day landings and General Haskel (Kelsey Grammer, Frasier, Wanted Man) is already in France, directing efforts to disrupt German forces ahead of the invasion and things aren’t looking good for him. Among other problems, the Germans have captured Daquin (Gilles Marini, Dark Feathers, Screech of the Decapitated).

He’s a member of The Resistance who knows where to find Major General Erik Ramsey (Roman Schomburg, Christmas Crossfire, Into the Darkness), the Nazi officer responsible for roads and bridges in occupied France. He’s also responsible for the murder of Daquin’s family, both of which make him an obvious target for the Frenchman.

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When five soldiers separated from their respective units, Southern (William Moseley, Raven’s Hollow, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), Coolidge (Pooch Hall, Alarmed, The Game), Stubbs, (Jilon VanOver, Parallel Worlds: A Psychedelic Love Story, The Field Guide To Evil), Miller (James Wiles, Dead House, Mates) and Smith (Joe Anderson, Abattoir, The Devil Conspiracy) find their way to his encampment, Haskel gives the men the mission to rescue Daquin and go after Ramsey.

With Murder Company, director Shane Dax Taylor (The Best Man, Masquerade) and writer Jesse Mittelstadt (Across the Hall, Tow) serve up a familiar plot full of characters that anyone who has seen more than a handful of war films will recognize. The battle hardened leader, the naive rookie, local resistance member who saw the Nazis kill his family, German soldiers who can’t hit a damn thing they shoot at, etc. The same is true with many of the film’s plot points, such as who lives and who dies, etc.

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To be fair, the mission behind enemy lines plot has been done so many times it’s hard not to hit a few clichés unless you go off into The Twilight Zone. And even that’s becoming old hat with all of the hybrid war/horror films incorporating zombies, super soldiers and, in the case of WarHunt, witches.

While it doesn’t try to reinvent the genre, Murder Company does at least take a practical approach to it and its relatively low budget. Wisely, it avoids the temptation to fill the screen with cheaply rendered CGI planes, tanks and explosions. Instead, it concentrates on smaller scale encounters, with a good amount of hand-to-hand combat and gun battles to keep things interesting. Even the scenes of burning Germans are done the old-fashioned way, rather than superimposing computerized flames on the actors.

The script also plays up the thriller aspects of its plot with a stealthy night attack by knife wielding Germans and then having our badly outnumbered heroes do the same when they reach Ramsey’s headquarters and have to rely on their knives to avoid detection for as long as possible. You know they’re going to get discovered, but it works up some nice tension as you wait for it to happen.

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For those attracted by Kelsey Grammer’s presence, he has several scenes scattered through the film, and does at least share a couple of them with some of the main actors. He doesn’t put a lot of effort into the part, delivering all his dialogue with the same tone, no matter if he’s suppossed to be worried or rousing his troops to fight. On a side note, I have my doubts that the Allies had a general and as many troops as he talks about having in Europe directly before D-Day.

Taken as a whole though, Murder Company is a serviceable war film that will keep viewers occupied for the better part of ninety minutes. Which is about all you can ask from it, really.

Maverick Film and Complex Corp will release Murder Company in theatres as well as to VOD and Digital Platforms on July 5th.

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