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on 22 February 2010
Estranged couple Wayne and Carmen Colson(Thomas Jane,Diane Lane)are witnesses to a botched hit by Blackbird(Mickey Rourke) and Richie Nix(Joseph Gordon Levitt)and end up in witness protection.However Blackbird does not appreciate loose ends and looks to track them down.
Notorious studio misfire contains only trace elements of Leonard's fine novel(one of his best)with John Madden this time being the director unable to bring Leonard's masterly and subtle character studies in criminality to the screen.Only Steven Soderbergh has come close with Out of Sight.Here an a list cast do their best(Rourke being the standout but Levitt is awful as Nix and Rosario Dawson is scarcely any more believable as his con infatuated girlfriend) and the post production tinkering is terribly obvious as a fairly absorbing and pacey first half descends into a lifeless second with Jane off the screen for practically the whole of the pay off.
Action sequences are competently handled but Killshot could have been so much more.
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on 25 June 2013
I would label this film as efficient and effective. Other reviewers, although more lukewarm towards it, outline the basic plot. Unlike them I found the script enjoyable - almost black comedy. The direction was artful and suspenseful and the cinematography by Caleb Deschanel is exceptional. A smallish, tight central cast - Rosario Dawson is, yes, underused, but at least given a part that's a slight stretch for once. She's a solid actress as well as being hugely attractive but too often gets little more than decorative parts. Mickey Rourke even plays his character with admirable subtlety in places, and comes across as believable as a Native American (note the way he modulates his speech, or enunciation - both a city rat and yet also "other"). I would say the plot drifts slightly halfway through, following a hard and fast start and notable action set-pieces. There's not as much action through the second half but when it comes, it works. A good job by all concerned. Doubt the naysayers if you rate any of the cast and give it go for yourself. It's no classic, but is still better than many movies these days. Fans of Copland Special Edition [DVD] or Four Brothers [DVD], or Ben Affleck's directed moviesGone Baby Gone [DVD],The Town [DVD] [2010] would, i reckon, find satisfaction here.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 January 2016
I think this is a pretty average thriller. Not bad, just (below) average. Given the source material, I thought it could have been much more.

The "problem" (for want of a better word) with Leonard's plots and trying to translate them, is that they are quite linear. Yes, you get the odd double-cross along the way, but you know where you are headed. What makes them so great is Leonard's skill with description and dialogue (witty, dry and not a word wasted), impeccable eye for detail (always supported by rigorous research) and pacing. This film has none of that. The tightness and wit of the dialogue are missing. Without that, all you have is a quite routine (by cinema standards) story to tell. The stuff of "second feature" B-movies, back in the day.

Unfortunately, they didn't really get that story-telling part right either; the tone here is patchy at best and the pacing feels all wrong after about half way, which gives the film a sense of being disjointed.

Rourke is fine as the ageing professional hitman ("Blackbird"). He was brilliant in "The Wrestler", but the material he's working with doesn't allow him to shine here. Some of his lines just didn't ring true for me, for such a killer (not that I know any personally, of course). Gordon-Levitt (another fine actor), over does it just a bit for me, as young side-kick (Richie Nix). These two characters needed to hold the whole thing together, to make it compelling, which they didn't do. Secondly, "couple in peril" (Jane and Lane - who often does a nice line "vulnerable but capable"), (who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and become the focus for the two killers), despite all the angst, seem pretty capable of looking out for themselves, when push-comes-to-shove! So I never really felt they were in that much jeopardy.

I'm not quite sure what the director was originally aiming for here. Supposedly "completed" in January 2006, the film didn't emerge until 2008. Never a good sign. I have no idea what happened in the edit suite, but it didn't work. The film is only about 90 minutes long, which, by modern film standards is pretty short. Maybe they cut it down to inject some pace? Perhaps it was beyond fixing to begin with?

Were my expectations too high to begin with, given the source material? Possibly. It's a good question, however, given the makers have marketed this off the back of Leonard's name, retained the original book's title and stuck pretty closely to the original plot, I don't think some comparison to the original source is unfair.

Several thoughts went through my mind during a different setting, you could make a decent comedy out of the incompetent killers......what's the best Leonard adaptation I had seen? does an actor decide which roles to take?............why is Rosario Dawson in this?.......

A cinematic abomination? No, of course not, it is still very watchable and there is a down-beat tone to it, which I do like, however, this is the weakest of all Leonard's writings to make it to the big screen, by a mile (And I've seen Bronson's "Mr Majestyk"! (Oh yes)).

If you are a Leonard fan reading this, it probably won't put you off getting it (just as the negative reviews I read did not dissuade me), however, just be prepared.

Finally, if you are new to Leonard and want something to watch, I would suggest either "Out of Sight", which is slick, sexy and very enjoyable or "Jackie Brown", which in my view is the best adaptation of one of his novels.
Alternatively, I would recommend the TV series "Justified" for its style and sheer good fun!
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on 23 August 2012
Expected a little better from a Mickey Rourke film. The plot wasn't very good - why this professional hit man would team up with a mouthy side kick should have started the alarm bells ringing. If you really want to see this film the Region 1 import is much better value at £7'ish.
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Killshot is about a couple (Thomas Jane and Diane Lane) who are in the process of getting divorced. However, they witness an attempted armed robbery by partners in crime (Mickey Rourke and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and subsequently hunted down by the pair in order to `silence' them - permanently.

What follows in an hour and a half of cat and mouse antics and the criminals use all their resources to track the couple down, in order to eliminate them. Not a bad premise, but the one thing I found was that I found myself rooting for the bad guys - not because I agreed with their motives, but because they were just so much more charismatic than the `heroes' (think how Brad Pitt's and Juliet Lewis' psychotic performances outshone David Duchovney and what's-her-name's in Kalifornia and you're in the right area).

Killshot isn't anything special, or anything that you haven't seen before. However, what makes it worth watching is the performance of the villains. Some people have commented how Joseph Gordon-Levitt doesn't pull off `the hard man' act very well. Yes, he was a little manic, but, either way, I found he stole every scene from Thomas Jane and Diane Lane, but was - naturally - outdone in the psychopathic stakes by Mickey Rourke.

There's definitely worst ways to spend an hour and a half.
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on 8 September 2012
Mickey Rourke steps into familar shoes to play a hitman on a mission. After accidently killing his own little brother he takes the loose cannon Joseph Gordon-Levitt under his wing - as he reminds him of his brother and sees this as a kind of mends. The story jumps around to follow a plot about Diane Lane and estranged hubby Thomas Jane witnessing Mikey Rourke's identity after a botched heist. They move into witness protection but it isn't long until Rourke and his hot headed companion track them down...

The performances are fine in this Elmore Leonard story (although the always reliable Rosario Dawson is under used) and Rourke plays a fine hitman. However the script and story is ridiculous in parts which makes you understand why this flick when straight to DVD in the UK.

Worth a note is the Blu Ray edition is only available on import as the high def version never had a UK release. The Blu Ray transfer is excellent as is the sound. The extras are no exsistant bar a short film included based on an Elmore Leonard short story. This bonus 30 min quirky odd film is directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and stars Eric Stoltz about an insurance scam.
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VINE VOICEon 10 December 2015
A half decent thriller, that throws in some action scenes early on, a good cast and straight forward plot.

Mickey Rourke is the solid hitman sidekicked with Joseph Gordon Lovitt (a little bit of a manic performance) who's unhinged killer may be the duos downfall.

Thomas Jane and Diane Lane are the couple and object of the two killers hit, both good actors but not there finest hour here as they could of been played by unknowns such is the blandness of there charachters.

The films quite pacey, hardly dull, but not that original. Its also fairly predictable and really runs out of steam towards the end.

Still it's quite an enjoyable flick, nothing special, but entertaining.
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on 13 November 2013
Carmen Colson and her husband Wayne are placed in the Federal Witness Protection program after witnessing an extortion scheme go wrong.

Thinking they are safe at last, they are targeted by an experienced intimidating hit man and a psychopathic young upstart killer.

The ensuing struggle will test Carmen to the limit.....

Always curious about this movie because of all the push backs, Killshot has to be one of the most irritating, pretentious movies I've seen in a long while.

Rourke spends the movie pouting and giving rationale or his doing, Levitt is just too over the top in a way even David Lynch would cringe at, and Rosario Dawson is totally wasted.

Lane and Jane are okay, but they are he most boring couple I've ever seen on celluloid.

The film meanders from scene to scene to scene, and one cannot believe that a prolific director like Madden could make something so redundant.

It tries to be offbeat, tries to be something a little out there, even mystical, but the film is a complete shambles from beginning to end.

Highly avoidable.
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on 22 September 2013
KILLSHOT is a thriller based on a best selling novel by the late ELMORE LEONARD. When weary Native American hitman Armand Blackbird Degas (MICKEY ROURKE) enrages his mafia boss (RICHARD ZEPPIARI) by murdering an employee while on a job to liquidate Papa (HAL HOLBROOK in a brief cameo), he suddenly finds himself on the run from his former employers. Soon he begins an unlikely partnership with a small time con artist, Richie Rix ( JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT) and his downtrodden girlfriend, Donna (a superb ROSARIO DAWSON).

Meanwhile, estranged husband and wife Wayne Colson (THOMAS JANE) and Carmen (DIANE LANE) are unwittingly placed in the firing line when they foil Rixs amateurish blackmail attempt on her property tycoon boss, Nelson Davies (DON McMANUS). With their lives now in danger, the desperate duo are placed on the Witness Protection Program and believe themselves to be safe once relocated and with fresh identities.

Yet they underestimate the professional and resourceful Degas, who is following the rule which has kept him so successful over the years - that anyone who has seen his face, and therefore posing a potential threat - is mercilessly silenced!

I found KILLSHOT to be a nice little thriller which does not rely on massive stunts and explosions to grip the viewing audience. Characterization is important here and while all the cast shine, extra credit goes to LANE and ROURKE for making their characters to believable. JANE is suitably restrained compared to some of his action films and LEVITT perfectly slimy, while DAWSON really makes us sympathize for her!

Unfortunately there are no Special Features at all on the disc, although at least there are subtitles available. Still, anybody wishing to fill an hour and a half with a tense, but rather underrated thriller, should find KILLSHOT ideal entertainment!
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on 14 July 2013
A much delayed release for a movie that had already set in the archives following poor audience reactions during test screenings. Yes the opening half of the film is stronger and the plot line involving the mafia hit men in pursuit of Blackbird goes nowhere. Watching the excellent opening hit which gets Rourke's character into trouble you can see how this scene has subsequently been ripped off for the opening in Stallone thriller Bullet to the Head. Levitt also shines as the unstable Richey Nix who teams up with Blackbird. As is more often the case the crooks are the more colourful characters with Thomas Jane and Diane Lane offered more bland roles as the bickering couple forced into witness protection.
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