If you have seen the trailer for Killers you will likely have already gotten the sense that you have seen this film before and, if you have seen the 1994 film True Lies (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis and directed by James Cameron) or the 2005 film Mr. & Mrs. Smith (starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and directed by Doug Liman), the chances are you have. Essentially coming off as a low budget version of either of those films (although, surprisingly, the budget isn’t that low, coming in at $75 million), Killers clearly doesn’t have originality on its side, nor does its attempted combination of romantic comedy and action seem fresh, this film being the latest in this year’s trend for male-female action comedies following the dire The Bounty Hunter and the actually very good Date Night and preceding this August’s Knight and Day. Even casting aside the issue of whether or not the film is original, it is hard to find much to get excited about going into this film. Director Robert Luketic’s last film was last year’s mediocre battle of the sexes romcom The Ugly Truth and, while both Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher have proven themselves to be charismatic and charming leads time and time again, both tend to have rather poor taste when it comes to choosing film projects to star in. Is Killers another poor choice on their part? Sadly, yes.
Getting over a sudden break-up, Jen Kornfeldt (Katherine Heigl) reluctantly joins her parents (Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara) on a trip to the French Riviera. Unexpectedly she meets the man of her dreams, the dashingly handsome Spencer Aimes (Ashton Kutcher). Three years later, her seemingly impossible wish has come true and she and Spencer are newlyweds living the ideal suburban life. That is, until the morning after Spencer’s 30th birthday when suddenly bullets start flying. Spencer never got round to telling Jen that he’s an international super-spy, and now Jen’s perfect world has been turned upside down. Faced with the fact that her husband is a hit man, Jen is determined to discover what other secrets Spencer might be keeping. Meanwhile, she finds herself dodging bullets, keeping up appearances for the neighbours, dealing with the in-laws – and working out some major ‘trust issues’!
There are two things that prevent Killers from being a completely awful film – Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher. While neither exactly amazes us with their performances or does anything we haven’t seen before, the charisma that both bring to their roles ensures that they manage to amuse even with the below par material they have to work with here. Heigl is as a delightful as ever and Kutcher brings on the charm but this film really is not worthy of their performing talents. They do a good job in their roles and even have a decent chemistry but little else positive can be said about the film. Among the supporting cast, Tom Selleck is completely wasted and Catherine O’Hara spends most of the film either drunk or getting drunk – perhaps she realised what rubbish she had signed on for. The real failing of the film though lies at the feet of director Robert Luketic. Forgetting to deliver either laughs or thrills, Luketic’s lacklustre direction, coupled with a poorly written screenplay by Bob DeRosa and Ted Griffin (the latter’s previous writing credits actually being surprisingly good), results in gags and dialogue that fail to be funny and action sequences that are lame, poorly shot and badly executed, Luketic’s inexperience in the action field clearly showing – whoever thought it would be a good idea to have a romcom director do action anyway? Additionally, plot is virtually non-existent, the film descending into a series of shoot ups that serve little purpose other than to show that absolutely no one can be trusted, and the potential for paranoia, whereby literally anyone could be an assassin, is thrown away in favour of failed attempts at humour. Showing no ingenuity whatsoever, the film gets a bit too ridiculous for its own good and a late plot twist just seems absurd. So, altogether Killers is a lame and forgettable action comedy that won’t kill the careers of either of its stars but isn’t worth your time and money either.
Review by Robert Mann BA (Hons)
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