July 20th, 2009

KILLSHOT (2009) **

Mickey Rourke plays this Native American assassin named “Black Bird” who kills anyone who sees his face.  He pisses off the “Toronto Mob” by murdering a gangster’s girlfriend because she saw his ugly mug.  He then goes into hiding and befriends an annoying fuck-up small time criminal (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).  To earn a little extra cash, they shake down a real estate office for protection money.  A couple (Diane Lane and Thomas Jane) whose marriage is on the skids sees Black Bird’s face at the office so that means he’s gotta kill them.  He misses of course, and the Feds put them into the Witness Protection Program (which is actually great for their marriage because they have to pretend to be a happy couple).  Black Bird is crafty though and fakes his death so the couple can return home and he can shoot at them and miss them some more.  Luckily, the couple has better aim than the Indian dude.


Okay can somebody tell me why in the heck is this movie called “Killshot”?  It should’ve been called “Missed Shot” because all Black Bird and his partner do is shoot at the couple at point blank range and miss.  In fact, Jane seems more of a credible manly threat because at one point he throws Levitt out a window and into a gazebo.  Too bad Jane spends most of his screen time playing Lifetime Movie with Lane.


Honestly, are we supposed to believe that this bickering couple can do what both the FBI and the “Toronto Mob” couldn’t do and kill this nefarious hitman?  Although I have to admit that getting one over on the “Toronto Mob” would be kinda easy.  I mean Canada isn’t really known for their Mafioso, are they?


I like Mickey Rourke a lot but he definitely gives one of the all time worst performances by a Caucasian trying to act like a Native American.  It’s right up there with George C. Scott in Firestarter, folks.  Levitt is also pretty grating on the nerves.  Since he went out of his way to look like Heath Ledger’s evil doppelganger, I’ll give him a free pass though.  Jane and Lane are great actors and I would love to see them together in a better movie.  Here, they’re stuck in a pair of thankless roles.  The screenplay is so flimsy that they’re never given a chance to be anything other than one-dimensional, which is really a shame.


I think the big problem with Killshot (which rightly sat on the shelf for three years before being given a nominal theatrical release) is that it was in the hands of the wrong director:  John Madden.  I know what you’re thinking; hey he’s a really great football coach but he doesn’t know dick about movies.  Well, I hate to burst your bubble.  This isn’t the football guy; it’s the guy who directed Shakespeare in Love.  He wouldn’t have been my go-to guy to direct a hard-boiled crime novel by Elmore Leonard.  Maybe the OTHER John Madden would’ve been a better choice.