PAINKILLERS (fka Tour of Duty) was directed by Peter Winther and stars Tahmoh Penikett, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Erica Durance, Julia Voth and Colm Feore.

The movie follows a squad of marines that are sent on a classified mission deep in the war-torn mountains of Afghanistan, but when they find the mysterious item they were sent for… it’s not what they were expecting. The next thing they know, Major Cafferty (Penikett) and the surviving squad members wake-up in a military medical facility with no memory of what happened or even who they are. Using an experimental drug, doctors try to “reboot” the soldiers’ memories, but one by one they fall prey to bizarre hallucinations and homicidal fits of rage. Only through snatches of resurfacing memories does Cafferty begin to question the true motives of the hospital staff and discover the shocking, deadly reality behind the otherworldly artifact they found.

As Painkillers plays along the viewer finds out much more about Major Cafferty as his memory slowly returns. One important fact is that he has been keeping a huge secret about his health and once he came in contact with this artifact, he was healed so the sinister suits want to know more about all of this. What the group of soldiers do realize is that the good doctor has a much more sinister side to him and has been lying the entire time. Needless to say, this facility doesn’t really have their best interests in mind. It’s all about government cover ups and the thirst for power and in the end, Cafferty holds the key and is the only link to this mysterious artifact.

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The story for this sci-fi action thriller ended up being smart and thought-provoking with a few twists thrown in along the way. The biggest flaw was that the movie spent way too much time inside the medical facility and not enough time where they discover this mysterious artifact. There’s some action scenes and a few special effects to help the movie out at times and it all looked good. The way this movie plays out, it’s like it’s meant to be the first of a series (television or movies) because there’s so much that wasn’t revealed about this artifact. There’s also the fact that a mysterious new character is introduced at the end as we hear him speak of other locations and his plans for Major Cafferty. Some questions are answered but new ones are addressed.

The packaging comes with a slipcover. The front features the artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details and some images. The DVD disc features matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this standard-definition release were really good.

Bottom line is, Painkillers ended up being a good sci-fi thriller that featured this great cast but the movie did have its flaws. The cast is mostly a who’s who of sci-fi veterans and they each do a great job with these interesting characters of theirs. They’re all badasses and each one has their time to shine even though the movie centers around Tahmoh Penikett’s Major Cafferty and this mysterious artifact. Peter Winther did a good job directing this sci-fi thriller that reminded me a lot of the arsenal of Syfy movies that we’ve gotten over the years. There might be a reason for this too so we’ll see. This DVD releases on January 12th and is worth a watch.

Distributor: RLJ Entertainment

Run Time: 105 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

DVD Video: Widescreen (1.85:1) Region 1

DVD Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: N/A

Special Features: N/A


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