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Saturday, 20 October 2018

Retro Review: Killshot (2008)

Cast: Diane Lane, Thomas Jane, Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson
Genre: Thriller
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $2 million 

Plot: A husband and wife become entangled in a scam with a bumbling, small-time con artist and his over-the-hill hit-man partner

'Kill It With Fire'

Beginning in 2005 filming for the crime thriller, Killshot took place; however, test screenings didn't go down well at all, the film was edited with certain scenes removed and whittled down to 84 mins. Initially slated for March 17, 2006, after production wrapped up, it was then delayed to October 20, 2006. Bad press, zero hype and negative test audience reaction (with complaints that the plot was too confusing to understand and the story wasn't tightened enough), post-production problems and abandoned theatrical release dates, Killshot feels and looks every inch a direct-to-DVD thriller cheapie that it is. It is so uninspired It's understandable how and why this film got butchered. 

In the midst of a divorce, a couple finds themselves the targets of a deadly hit-man and his even deadlier accomplice. When the police are unable to protect them, the husband and wife are forced to take the law into their own hands. 

Interestingly, the original casting was supposed to be Sandra Bullock, John Travolta, with Viggo Mortensen and Justin Timberlake, whilst Robert DeNiro and Quentin Tarantino were also in the running. I'm presuming Timberlake would have been playing Levitt's character and Travolta Rourke's character. In the end, John Madden (no, not the American football guy) had to settle for so-called B-list actors, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Diane Lane, Thomas Jane and former A-lister, Mickey Rourke. When it did get a release in 2008/January 2009, it was only for selective U.S theaters and it wasn't long before it quickly headed to DVD. 

The villains are actually, passable - well Joseph Gordon Levitt for me at least, but Rourke looked and felt stiff, although I wished his character was a tad more entertaining and Rosario Dawson's character who is nothing more than an entity, whilst the good guys, the couple seem vanilla, stale with both Thomas Jane and Diane Lane giving unconvincing turns as the troubled husband and wife. Personally speaking, Jane and Diane were out of their element and thus, can't carry or headline a film with a plot such as this and whilst some may have an issue with Mickey Rourke and Gordon-Levitt, on paper, it is they who should have provided the film extra weight that the former couldn't do, especially if the script was a lot tighter and had more depth. Which it doesn't, in all honesty. Although Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a Hillbilly only appears to be the one who tries to give his character some range, as he goes all wacko. That, however, doesn't seem to be enough for this dud; it is just your standard thriller, but with all the hallmarks of a direct to DVD feature and most of the performances and the film itself doesn't offer much to make it stand out on its own. 

The writers devote some time to the couple, Wayne and Carmen, yet they never manage to incorporate and develop these characters, fully and fittingly. Because of that, alongside the drab performances given by Jane and Lane, I didn't care what happened to them.

There is virtually no genuine suspense, no intrigue, no massive shocks that come out of nowhere. When there is no action set piece, the story remains stilted, trite and the more the film went on, it gradually became worse it was torturous to endure, and if it wasn't for Levitt, Killshot would be even more shallow and vacuous than it already is. The story jumps around so often, it's hard to keep track of who the main focus is or are, in terms of characters. Because of that, the film fails to establish its core idea.& as for the ending, well that was a waste and yet, it pretty much sums up how utterly wretched Killshot is.

Final Verdict:

As a crime thriller, it is so utterly dreary and insipid, this deserves to be killed and shot to pieces. Alas, this is one of the worst films I've seen. 


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