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.