Rarely as much fun as one might’ve anticipated (and hoped), Destroyer details the chaos that ensues on the set of a prison movie after a previously-executed yet somehow-still-alive inmate (Lyle Alzado’s Ivan Moser) begins killing crew members – with the picture following Deborah Foreman’s Susan Malone as she and her boyfriend (Clayton Rohner’s David) attempt to uncover the truth about the institute’s mysterious past. Director Robert Kirk certainly does an effective job of initially drawing the viewer into the proceedings, as Destroyer kicks off with a promising sequence detailing Alzado’s character’s execution and the degree to which it ultimately goes awry – with the effectiveness of this opening standing in sharp contrast to the lackadaisically-paced midsection and third act. It’s clear, ultimately, that the most obvious and insurmountable problem here is the continuing emphasis on Susan and David’s tedious investigation into the killer’s origins, as far too much of the narrative is devoted to elements and subplots (ie the ongoing filming of the aforementioned prison movie) that simply aren’t compelling in the slightest. The inclusion of a very small handful of appreciatively over-the-top kill sequences (eg Ivan murders someone with an enormous pneumatic hammer drill) sporadically perks up one’s increasingly dwindling interest, and yet it’s equally apparent that the entirely tedious final stretch ensures that Destroyer ends on as underwhelming a note as one could possibly envision – which cements the movie’s place as a disappointing missed opportunity that should’ve been so much better.
** out of ****