Kill Shot is a non-stop interesting thriller and worth viewing (despite some questionable plot and character points). The supportive talent, not initially promo'd, include Thomas Jane, Rosario Dawson, a cameo by Hal Holbrook, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt who gives a completely underrated performance. Sadly, the blu-ray doesn't even have a main menu, scene selection, or captioning - it looks good on blu-ray and the audio is fine, but for the price, perhaps a standard dvd will do just as well. (3 1/2 stars)
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
I'd love to see the directors cut, but it's an otherwise a decent film.April 10 2009
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Synopsis: Armand "The Blackbird" Degas (played by Mickey Rourke) is a professional criminal who travels to the Detroit area to conduct some criminal activities. He runs into low-life criminal Richie Nix (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), whom Degas takes a shining to despite Nix's reckless and sociopathic tendencies. The two decide to engage in an extortion attempt on a realtor and inadvertently involve husband and wife Wayne Colson (Thomas Jane) and Carmen Colson (Diane Lane) into their schemes. Well, after Nix is injured during the extortion attempt, the duo begin focusing on revenge more than the actual extortion. Meanwhile, the story begins placing added emphasis on the deteriorating relationship of the Colsons, who prior to meeting Degas and Nix were considering divorce. One thing leads to another and the Colsons have to seek witness protection to escape attempts on their life. But not even witness protection will stop the criminals from trying to find the couple...
First off, I enjoyed the film because of it's setup. The locations were excellent (my grandparents stay in Algonac, Michigan, so seeing portions of that and Detroit in the movie are awesome.) I also thought the casting was excellent too; you didn't hate Rourke despite the fact that he was a violent person and Levitt's character was one you LOVED to hate. The movie was intense but not entirely predictable like most action films are. In the end, you have a movie that feels like an action-romance story that could be equally intriguing as either or despite how violent the movie is.
What bums me out is what we didn't see in the film. The film wrapped post-production up in 2006(!!!) but didn't get to see the a wide release because many felt the story was confusing (and it can be at times; but this is a movie that's meant to watched twice.) This lead to any and all scenes involving Johnny Knoxville (who played the role of a Deputy) to be removed from the film entirely. I would have loved to have seen the uncut version of this film but for continuity purposes, this is the film that was provided to us.
All and all though, it's still one that's worth checking out and recommended to people who'd want to see what an action/romance film would look like.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A decent, suspenseful thrill rideMay 27 2009
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Armand "Blackgird" Degas (Rourke) is a hitman for the Toronto mafia. When his dedication to the job brings about the wrath of his employers, he falls in with Richie Nix (Gordon-Levitt), a two-time crook who's a bit too anxious for his own good. When they try one of Nix's many extortion schemes, they run into struggling couple Wayne and Carmen Colson (Jane and Lane). Degas is determined to let no one who sees his face live. Wayne and Carmen going into protective custody isn't about to stop that.
KILLSHOT is a perfectly decent thriller, with a wonderful premise that, though not wholly believable, is at least interesting and original. I haven't read the novel yet, though I plan to do so; I have a feeling the novel (written by the illustrious Elmore Leonard) explores the thematic potentials more fully than the film, which at times feels like a mish-mash of scenes rather than one solid whole. (This can be blamed on the long delay; I first saw previews for KILLSHOT years--literally years--ago.) The script itself is fairly solid, except for a few cliched lines of dialogue; there are a few genuine surprises, and even some damned-fine humor and action sequences.
Thomas Jane is solid as usual (I won't say "always;" he's had some clunker roles in the past, though it's usually the film's fault and not his), and Diane Lane manages to steal quite a few scenes. Overall, though, the film rests squarely on the broad shoulders of Mickey Rourke, who is delightfully sinister, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is overly campy and thoroughly enjoyable. The interaction between the two isn't quite fleshed out like it should be (and their relationship isn't at all believable; a pro like Degas would never hook up with a small-time punk like Nix, no matter how much the latter resembles the former's deceased kid brother), but each actor holds his own in different ways: Rourke shows his mastery of restraint (watch THE WRESTLER for another example of this talent, albeit under extremely different circumstances), and Gordon-Levitt has one hell of a good time camping it up, letting his character's long hair and unjustified ego fly.
KILLSHOT isn't quite what it could have been, but it's still a solid film that's worth a look or two. It's quick and suspenseful; if you can overlook some of its logistics errors, it's an entertaining thriller that offers some solid acting and an interesting plot.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Finally...May 27 2009
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The story behind Killshot is actually more interesting than the film itself. Originally filmed in 2005, the Elmore Leonard adaptation directed by John Madden (the Shakespeare in Love director, not the football guru that is) sat on the shelf and was subsequently subjected to re-shoots and vast re-edits, so much so that Johnny Knoxville's role as a crooked cop was completely removed from the finished product. The end result however is that Killshot remains an engaging thriller, carried by the performances of its cast. Diane Lane and Thomas Jane star as Carmen and Wayne Colson respectively; an estranged, soon to be divorced couple who run afoul of a deadly hitman named Blackbird (Mickey Rourke) and his young, recently acquired accomplice Richie (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). The couple enter witness relocation, but it isn't long before Blackbird and Richie are in hot, relentless pursuit. Briskly paced and plenty compelling, Killshot often feels as if there are large moments missing from the film (and there are), as we see turns from Rosario Dawson, Lois Smith, and Hal Holbrook here for nothing more than what really amounts to extended cameos. Still, the performances from Rourke and particularly the talented Gordon-Levitt make Killshot as good as it is, and in that respect alone, the film is more than worth seeing. It should be noted however that despite the cuts to the film, there's no deleted scenes section, nor are there any Special Features on the DVD at all. Maybe oneday Madden and the Weinstein's will release the film as originally envisioned. One can only hope.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A good film that was butchered by the Weinstein company after test screenings still worthwhileJune 4 2009
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Director John Madden's film of Elmore Leonard's novel "Killshot" was shelved, screened for test audiences, recut,screened again, had reshoots and, ultimately, dumped on the market after being butchered. That's too bad because Madden's strong suspense thriller deserved better. Well made with taunt pacing and strong performances from Thomas Jane, Diane Lane as the estranged couple who witness an attempted extortion and murder by a jaded American Indian hitmman (Mickey Rourke in a terrific performance)and his hot headed partner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), "Killshot" breezes along at a quick pace (probably because an entire subplot has been cut and the film wittled down to less than 90 minutes)remaining suspenseful throughout its brief running time.
Sadly, the film doesn't get any extras nor do we get a "Director's Cut" with the excised footage restored. "Killshot" is an enjoyable thriller and it's a pity Madden's original version didn't get a chance to play in theaters or even on home video in its original form.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
An Entertaining Film, Nothing Spectacular ThoughJuly 9 2009
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People have been trying to adapt Elmore Leonard's novel Killshot for some time. When John Madden finally directed it, the finished product was shelved, re-cut, and delayed some more before quietly debuting. It's been said that Madden's original film was likely butchered during this process and no director's cut has been made available. Well, Killshot in it's current form isn't very bad. It's actually pretty damn good compared to the lukewarm reviews I've read for it.
2008's comeback kid Mickey Rourke plays Armand "Blackbird" Degas, a half-Native American hitman riddled with guilt over accidentally killing his younger brother. A chance encounter with eccentric, loud-mouthed criminal Richie Nix (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) leads Blackbird to helping Richie get $20,000 from a real estate guy. Their plan goes awry when they mistake Wayne (Thomas Jane) for their guy. Now, with the police after them and both Wayne and his estranged wife Carmen (Diane Lane) having seen their faces; Blackbird and Richie have two relatively significant problems to get rid of.
The film's set-up and execution are nothing new for films in this "crime-thriller" genre, but it does have two memorable villains. Both Jane and Lane do exactly what the script asks of them. They play the confused, paranoid victims whose marriage is in shambles. But, this film belongs to Rourke and Gordon-Levitt.
Rourke is terrific, as I expected. What's really impressive is that many actor's would have taken a very wooden approach to this role. Rourke brings charm and vulnerability to it. Blackbird is not a sympathetic character, but Rourke makes you like him in spite of yourself.
Gordon-Levitt gives a high-energy performance, to say the least. Gordon-Levitt takes Richie beyond maniacal and goes over-the-top psychotic. Quite simply, he's overacting. I don't think any actor could play this role with even a hint of subtlety and he does create a very sadistic, unlikeable character. For some actor's, saying they were overacting would be saying there was a fault in their performance. Gordon-Levitt makes it work though. He's without a doubt one of the most talented young actor's working today.
Quentin Tarantino's longtime producer Laurence Bender produced the flick and author Elmore Leonard serves as executive producer which I think does show that there were people who had faith in the project. I think that if a director's cut were ever to see the light of day it wouldn't make much of a difference. I haven't read Leonard's novel and I've never heard anyone who has call it a masterpiece. I don't see this film being much better than it is now. Killshot is a well-acted, well-made, and entertaining crime film. It's not perfect and I don't believe it could be. However, it's not a waste of time and I think those who enjoy Elmore Leonard's books and 90s-era Tarantino films will find something to enjoy here.