There is only one word that comes to mind while watching the new jaxploitation urban thriller Death Toll, and that word is “wow.” Wow—the writing and direction in this film are terrible. Wow—the action in this film is atrocious. Wow—there is nothing good about this film. Wow—this garbage keeps getting worse and worse. Wow—I’ve been watching this crap for twenty-minutes, but it seems more than an hour. Wow—this is a total piece of crap.
Okay, before we go any further, I think it’s important that I make a small confession: I did not watch this film all the way through. After about 30-minutes, with another 51-minutes to go, I found myself quoting Popeye and screaming at the television, “I’ve had all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!!!” From there, I “watched” the rest of this mind-rotting trash in fast-forward mode. And even then the film was poorly made and boring.
What passes as the plot of this ineptly cobbled together mess has something to do a bloody battle between rival drug gangs on the mean streets of New Orleans. The cops are trying to get things under control, while the mayor (Lou Diamond Phillips) presses them for results. At least that’s what seems to be going on. In all honesty, after 30-minutes—more than a full third of the way into the film—it wasn’t making much sense.
The box art for Death Toll features DMX and Lou Diamond Phillips as the two top-billed actors. DMX actually isn’t in the movie—at least not in such a way that he actually appears with anyone else, or is an integral part of the story. Instead, he periodically stands in front of the camera and does the growling dog-bark talking thing of his, as he expounds some sort of ‘hood philosophy. I think he’s supposed to be some type of Greek chorus, but the film is put together with such a lack of intelligence, that I am left wondering if anyone involved actually knows what a Greek chorus is. As for Phillips’ involvement in this craptacular mess…either he lost a bet, or someone blackmailed him into doing this dreck. Either way, I’m sure he can forget his involvement in Death Toll by seek aversion at the bottom of a bottle somewhere.
There may be some people who take issue with me not watching this film all the way through. Well, that’s just too damn bad. Honestly, if I had rented this crap, I stopped watching it long before reaching the 30-minute mark, and I would have taken it back to the store and demanded my money back. But because I was reviewing it—for no money, by the way—I felt compelled to try and watch the whole thing. But the truth is that Death Toll is a terrible film, and not worth watching in any capacity.