The Cartel (2007) – By Duane L. Martin

 The Cartel is apparently some massive crime syndicate, apparently made up of women, but for the purposes of this story we’re only dealing with four particular women.  One is the leader of the cartel, one is her personal assistant, one is another girl who works for the cartel but gets to be sacrificed in a power play, and the last is a genetically enhanced enforcer who used to be straight up human but was modified into a powerful killing machine.  To tell any more about the story would be to give it away, but it involves an internal power struggle with a bit of a twist at the end.

In my review of "Genetics", which is also included on this DVD, I said that the line delivery and dialogue sounded more theatrical.  This film is the same, but to an even greater level.  The story is there, but the dialogue sounds so "read" and theatrical that it almost becomes distracting at times.  I’ve said it before.  We write differently than we speak.  When you write dialogue for film, you have to concentrate on making it sound natural and more like the spoken word rather than something that was written.

Story-wise, it wasn’t a bad story, but it seemed very slow paced to me.  Even though it was a short, it felt like it was dragging.  I think there were two reasons for that.  The first was the line delivery.  Being so "read" sounding, it felt like it was slowing everything down.  The second thing that led to the slow pacing were the scenes where the genetically enhanced enforcer was killing people.  Rather than just using a gun and getting it over with, she’d grab them with one hand by the throat, lift them off the ground and choke them.  That’s cool and all, but that’s mostly all she did, and it seemed to go on for too long each time she did it.  I would have liked to have seen a lot more variety in the fighting to add some excitement to the whole thing.

Then there’s the final scene, which is basically the enforcer walking through the woods doing a little monologue about how they changed her and what not.  It really felt out of place and like it would have served the film better if it had been changed some and done as a voice over at the beginning of the film as she was tracking the first girl she killed.  That would have gone a long way to really setting up the story and giving the viewer more of a background on what was going on.

This film did have its problems, but overall it wasn’t a bad film.  I thought "Genetics" was the better of the two films on the disc, but overall, even with the problems, this one wasn’t bad either and was a nice inclusion as the second film in the double feature.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check it out on the Siren Tales website at