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A spy delivers a mercy KILLSHOT into the skull of the new Elmore Leonard adaptation!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. This review makes me sad. Elmore Leonard's works seem to either really, completely succeed as big screen adaptations or fail so miserably. Sounds like this one doesn't work, but keep in mind this is a work in progress and not the finished product. I'm not really a fan of John Madden's work, but I am hopeful he turns this one around. Enjoy the review!

Howdy. I just saw a New York screening of KILLSHOT. This was a working print, but seemed pretty complete. A couple of incomplete effects shot, some wonky shot quality, all the normal stuff. The sound seemed pretty solid (if desperate in need of some level correcting). I have no idea if the music was the potential final music. It seemed to fit, if unimpressive. But enough of that.

KILLSHOT is an adaptation of the Elmore Leonard book of the same name. I like Leonard's books, if his movies have been hit and miss. His stories always rely on the strength of off kilter characters played with a certain amount of truth.

It was directed by John Madden of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (which was cute, if over hyped), PROOF (which I enjoyed, but not as much as the play), and CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN (enough said).

The plot? I'm too lazy to give a summary. Let's just use IMdB's:

"Beautiful Carmen Colson (Diane Lane) and her ironworker husband Wayne (Thomas Jane) are placed in the Federal Witness Protection program after witnessing an extortion scheme go wrong. Thinking they are at last safe, they are targeted by an experienced intimidating hit man (Mickey Rourke) and a psychopathic young upstart killer (Joe Gordon Levitt). The ensuing struggle will test Carmen to the limit." It also has Johnny Knoxville as a U.S. Marshal.

It started out well. Less humorous than I was expecting, but with a nice stylized noir feel. The characters are all introduced nicely and I was just settling in for a nice suspenseful crime tale. But the then the plot kicked in.

The pacing was off the entire film. Too slow at places, too kinetic in others. The scenery is wasted for the most part, and the it is rare that the film captures the style shown in the first five minutes. The suspense almost none existent, except in for me waiting for characters to be less annoying.

Don't get me wrong. Some of the performance were quite good Levitt continues to impress me with his work. Rourke is in his normal groove, entertaining to a point. But his character is the standard "life weary hitman with a spiritual side." He's also play part Native American with a crap load of makeup. Most of the time it was fine. But in some scenes the makeup is washed out and plastic looking. He also mentions that he had two brothers, on of whom was killed. i thought he said his last name was Vega, so I spent the first half of the movie wondering is KILLSHOT somehow fit into Tarantino's universe. (Turns out it was 'Degas,' not 'Vega.' My bad.) Rourke adds little to the part.

Diana Lane and Thomas Jane's characters are written blandly and played them that way. Jane has always been the American Chistophe Lambert, and acts about as well. Rosario Dawson's part might as well just be cut from the film. It adds little and is just disturbing. Johnny Knoxville is just horrendous but that will surprise few.

This type of dry crime humor is usually right up my alley (think Fargo). But it fails so completely here. Everyone is playing is so straight and the film is shot so straight, that any humor just gets buried. Well, Knoxville is playing over the top. Sigh.

One last point. The final climax was shot so completely wrong. I want to give no spoilers, but it begs for a side shot. But Madden goes for and over should shots that had little drama. the climax ends on such a cliched note and with so little gravitas that the only reason I knew it was the climax was that there was no where else for the film to go.

Anyway, I did have fun filing out the questionnaire, so that's something.

Just call me, SixSider

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