Jess McIlveen is “Red”

“What happens when a crazy ninja chick appears on the scene of a package drop?”


I am a sucker for tough chicks on film, kicking ass. I don’t need A-list action starlets, big Hollywood budgets, or even well-choreographed fight scenes. I don’t need all that, but, if mixed martial artist Gina Carano is involved, I’ll take it. I loved her in Haywire (2011) and In the Blood (2014). However, she’s an exception. I prefer someone like Jess McIlveen in something like Deadend Entertainment‘s Red. I love the ameteurs.

Red is a series of short action films inspired by the stylish action films of Robert Rodriguez [El Mariachi (1992), Desperado (1995)] and Quentin Tarantino [Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003), Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)] which were inspired, in part, by Spaghetti Western films. The Red saga’s soundtrack is, in fact, a twangy Morricone-esque theme. The films aren’t exactly revolutionary. However, they are still highly entertaining. In addition, lovely actress Jess McIlveen is a pleasure to watch. So let’s watch her …

Red (2011). In the first film, cowboy crime lord Ray (Adam Gilmour) exchanges a suitcase for a large sum of money from his well-dressed rival Jimmy Jones (Brandon Erga), but a mysterious girl Red (Jess McIlveen) with a gun and a samurai sword arrives and takes the suitcase for herself. Watch …

OK, so the fight scenes are a little bit lifeless but, yet, not distractingly so. Some of Red’s moves, in fact, are very well-executed considering the ameteur quality – like the kick that knocks down Ray or the leg sweep that fells Jimmy. And, I love how Red takes that punch to the jaw from Ray. Oh, and the end has been seen a million times before in action films, but, Red looks great in cliché. “Thanks, boys,” she grins, then tosses a Zippo lighter onto leaked gasoline, walking nonchalantly away as the cars explode behind her. Very cool.

Red Reloaded – Part 1 (2012). In part one, Jimmy Jones, working with Ray, tracks down Red, a hired assassin, in a Chinatown bar. She takes them back to her flat to return what she stole – a jade medallion. However, the medallion gives her supernatural speed, and she disappears. Watch …

The opening shots of Red on her yellow motorcycle racing through Chinatown are an obvious homage to Quentin Tarantino‘s Kill Bill. Favorite line: “Do you know who I am?” Jimmy snarls holding Red up against a wall. “Freddy Krueger?” she quips, in regards to the scars on his face from the explosion a year earlier.

Red Reloaded – Part 2 (2012). In part two, Jimmy Jones explains to Ray about the five medallions and their powers. They steal the healing talisman from the National Museum of Columbia, then confront Red, and a showdown ensues. Jimmy thrusts his blade into Red’s belly, taking her speed medallion, but, Red, unbeknownst to Jimmy, takes his healing talisman, and disappears (again). Watch …

I like the scene where Red slices up Jimmy with her samurai sword using her medallion’s speed, but, Jimmy’s talisman keeps him from getting hurt. I’m imagining, with a bigger budget, Jimmy’s body parts dropping all around Red as she slices and dices him up. Then, when she faces Ray, Jimmy stands up behind her, whole again.

Red Retribution (2014). In the finale, Jimmy Jones and Ray confront Red [with longer hair] one last time. Red kills Ray; then, after some gunplay and martial arts action, she kills Jimmy and walks off into the night. Watch …

The climactic fight between Red and Jimmy is, at first, like beginners demonstrating their studied moves, but, it picks up steam with quicker cuts. I like Jimmy’s double shot of wrench to Red’s face… wait. I also liked when Ray punched Red in the face in the first installment – What does that say about me? Anyway, I also like when Red twists her legs around Jimmy’s neck to pull him off her, and when she jumps back up to her feet.

The Red saga is all about action in 4-5 minute spurts, leaving little time for plot or character development. I didn’t expect anything more than a tough chick kicking ass, and Deadend Entertainment delivered. The films have their shortcomings, for sure, but, I still enjoyed them (and have watched them several times). However, I would love to see more of Red’s backstory, and more of Jess McIlveen in anything. Sadly, as far as I know, the Red saga is the only thing this lovely Aussie’s ever been in. More Jess, please!


Now, I’ll have to check out some of Deadend Entertainment‘s other films.


One thought on “Jess McIlveen is “Red”

  1. Pingback: Red [Trilogy] « Girls, Guns & Zombies!

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