Sacha Howells June 29, 2009
In January, a movie starring two Oscar nominees adapted from a novel by Elmore Leonard, who wrote the books that became Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, and Out of Sight, opened in Arizona. In five theaters. And played for two weeks, bringing in a domestic total gross of $18,643.
Just four months later Killshot is out on DVD, and the question has to be: Is it really that bad? Pretend-it-never-happened bad? Bury-it-in-Flagstaff bad?
Mickey Rourke plays a half-Native American hit man for the Toronto mafia named Blackbird, with a thing about killing anyone who sees him on the job. When he’s carjacked by the twitchy, dimwitted hustler Richie Nix (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), they team up to extort money from a realty magnate. But real estate agent Carmen Colson (Diane Lane) and her estranged husband Wayne (Thomas Jane) see the botched attempt go down, which puts them on Blackbird’s list. (Actually, Wayne decides to take on two guys with guns with a piece of metal from his truck. Because who wouldn’t?)
The Colsons are sent into the Witness Protection Program, where away from their everyday lives they start to rekindle the spark, and Blackbird and Richie try to lure them back to Michigan.
The movie runs through plot points like it’s a chore, getting from a to b without imagination or subtlety along the way. It’s a workmanlike thriller without many thrills, and some gratuitous nastiness as Richie and Blackbird torment Carmen, including her getting doused in deer lure and stripped down. The action ends predictably, and then it fades to black — the human drama we’re supposed to care about is just dropped.
It’s a talented cast, for sure, but no one brings their best game. Rourke is just the silent, brooding heavy, without the vulnerability that made his performance in The Wrestler (or even Sin City) interesting. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a squinty, prattling cliché with a hick accent and a stereotypically short fuse. And so on down the line — Diane Lane just looks tired as the damsel in distress, Thomas Jane is totally forgettable as the “normal guy”/action hero, and Rosario Dawson alternates between shrill and vacant.
The blandness and occasional plot holes likely come from the extensive screen testing and heavy editing since shooting wrapped in 2006, including a subplot featuring Johnny Knoxville as a corrupt deputy that was cut altogether.
The DVD release is spare, not an extra to be found. But seeing this is a movie they didn’t really want anyone to see, I guess the surprise is that it’s out at all. So why not quietly slink it out straight-to-DVD and pick up some dough on the pay-per-view circuit without the humiliation of a non-release? Someone’s contract must have guaranteed a theatrical run, maybe director John Madden, who also directed the Best Picture winner Shakespeare in Love.
In the end Killshot may not quite be dump-it-in-Arizona terrible, but it’s so much less than the sum of its parts that you’re better off watching almost anything else these people are in. Was there a good movie somewhere in there before the meddling? We’ll never know.
Categories: No CategoriesTags: Dvd reviews, Killshot, Mickey rourke, Rosario dawson