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 this........in a different setting, you could make a decent comedy out of the incompetent killers......what's the best Leonard adaptation I had seen?.......how 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!