Friday 18 June 2010

Killers review

Killers (12A, 100 mins)
Director: Robert Luketic
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Essentially taking the basic plot of True Lies and stripping it of all wit and invention, Killers is a dull plod through a succession of badly written setups that, for a lightweight action comedy, is nowhere near breezy enough, and offers a dearth of laughs or rousing conflict.

It kicks off with singleton Jen (Katherine Heigl) on holiday in France with her overbearing parents (Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara).  She meets the handsome, frequently shirtless Spencer (Ashton Kutcher) whom we know is actually an international assassin there for a job, but who doesn’t tell her that.

Not long after meeting her, and none too believably, he begins to question his career choice and decides he wants a normal life. So, back in the States, and a quick jump to three years later, they're happily married and living in suburbia with Jen still having no idea that Spencer used to be a hired killer. But just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in, with his old handler telling him if he doesn’t do another job, there’ll be a bounty on him, and seemingly every one of his neighbours could be out to kill him.

Little about Killers works. There’s not really much going for it in the early stages except some nice French scenery, followed by a black hole in the middle where absolutely nothing happens for a good half of the film’s running time. Then it turns frenzied for an all-action final stretch that becomes little more than a series of shoot outs and car chases and throws in a couple of Bourne style fight scenes only without the necessary expertise.

A subpar level of scriptwriting should take the blame for most of the problems, with Jen and Spencer going from deliriously happy to bored to bickering without once coming close to believable. Throw in characters who are barely introduced but yet later become pivotal, farcical coincidences and revelations that make no sense whatsoever and you’re left with a clumsy mess.

Kutcher shows more charm than he usually manages, but unfortunately he’s dragged back by Heigl who, reuniting with her director from The Ugly Truth last year, proves that her unappealing turn in that catastrophe was no fluke. But worst of all, the genuinely good actors in O’Hara and Selleck are wasted, her only character trait being that’s she’s a lush, his that he has a Tom Selleck moustache.

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