The beautiful Carmen Colson and her husband Wayne become entangled in a scam with a bumbling, small time con artist and his over-the-hill hitman partner the Blackbird. Ultimately, it all comes down to one wife, one husband, two killers and one lethal killshot.
How does a movie with Diane Lane, Mickey Rourke, Thomas Jane and Joseph-Gordon Levitt, all respectable stars in their own right, get tossed around for four years before opening for 2 weeks in a measly 5 theatres in the United States? By being absolutely unremarkable, that’s how.
Despite being based on an Elmore Leonard novel, Killshot boasts nothing of Leonard’s signature colourful characters or sharp, witty dialogue. Instead, director John Madden (best known for his Academy-Award winning “Shakespeare in Love”) blotches this adaptation from the get-go by playing it as a cat-and-mouse thriller.
Sure, Killshot does have its thrills but it would be erroneous to think that Elmore Leonard’s book was ever meant to be first and foremost a thriller. The story of a couple pursued by a ex-mafia hitman and his rookie partner was instead most notable for its quirky characters- the hitman nicknamed Blackbird part-Native American and the rookie Ritchie Nix a hot-headed dummy themselves almost instantly an odd couple characteristic of Leonard’s crime novels.
Here they are played by Mickey Rourke and Joseph-Gordon Levitt respectively and it is clear that they are the more interesting pair. At once cool and collected, Rourke’s imposingly menacing Blackbird is a nice foil against Levitt’s comically over-the top Nix. Unfortunately, the film affords little time to their banter, wasting its time on a throwaway subplot involving Levitt’s Elvis-obsessed girlfriend Donna (Rosario Dawson).
What is an even greater disappointment are Diane Lane’s Carmen and Thomas Jane’s Wayne, the couple on the verge of divorce now united by a common threat. Lane and Jane give their best to their characters, but screenwriter Hossein Amini’s one-note depiction of both Carmen and Wayne doesn’t give them much to work with, let enough keep audiences engaged.
With few intriguing characters, what’s left is a somewhat routine chase that is unfortunately detracted by the sure number of undercooked subplots. Indeed, it’s clear from how muddled Killshot is that more than a few hands have taken a go at it since its supposed release four years ago (among them reportedly even the late Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella), leaving behind only glimpses of a far superior source material. Elmore Leonard’s novels have had mixed success surviving the leap from print to screen, and Killshot can only be counted as a misfire.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Region 3 DVD comes with an option of Dolby 2.0 or Dolby 5.1- the latter option giving off a particularly strong bass sound and that extra boom during the movie’s few and far in-between action sequences. Visuals are clear and sharp.
by Gabriel Chong
Posted on 30 June 2009