Old 06-07-2010, 02:42 PM
Robert Luketic's Killers

Here's the link to the published version of the review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:



Killers (2010)

Robert Luketic's "Killers" takes a worn out premise and somehow manages to make it feel even more tired than before. What we basically have here is a film that is trying to be like "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" with only one of the couple being a killer.....and minus the thrills, humor, chemistry, and interesting dialogue that had made "Smith" memorable.

"Killers" begins in Nice, France where Jen (Katherine Heigl) is vacationing with her parents, Mr. (Tom Selleck) and Mrs. Kornfeldt (Catherine O'Hara). This is where Jen meets Spencer (Ashton Kutcher), a professional killer who is in France to carry out a mission. They fall in love and get married, but Spencer never tells Jen of his job, which he decides to give up in order to start his new life.

Three years go by and Spencer is suddenly contacted by his old boss who wants him to do another mission. On top of that, one of his friends suddenly tries to kill him, during which Jen just happens to walk in the door. Spencer finally reveals what he used to do as he and Jen go on the run with multiple people on their tail trying to kill them.

The studio behind "Killers" had already pretty much given it the kiss of death by choosing not to screen it for the critics, which is indicative that they knew they had a stinker on their hands in the first place, and from the critical reaction, that has proven to be extremely accurate.

This film felt like it was made up entirely of obligatory scenes. We know the situation that the characters are in. He's a killer, she doesn't know. It stands to reason that, at some point, she will find out that he is a killer. Thus, we get the obligatory scene where she discovers it. This leads right into the next set of obligatory scenes.

Now that she knows what he does, she has to be thrown into the same peril that he is going through so that there can be scenes where they argue about how he lied to her and so on and so forth. It's as if you can see the entire movie laid out before you on an unwavering path. It can't escape from it, nor will it ever diverge into any surprising or special territory. These scenes must happen, so they do, much to the audience's disapproval.

From here on, the film falls into a standard cycle of someone trying to kill them and then taking a short pause for them to sneak around or argue some more, then returning to someone trying to kill them. The screenplay, by Bob DeRosa and Ted Griffin, offers nothing new in this genre, nor does it give its characters much to do besides run around, shoot guns, and fight, all while delivering bland dialogue.

I've never really seen the appeal of Ashton Kutcher. He doesn't have much of a screen presence and he certainly doesn't have much chemistry with Katherine Heigl. Then there's the pointless addition of Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara as Jen's parents. They are barely given anything to do in the entire film. O'Hara's main function throughout is to consume massive amounts of alcohol while Selleck merely looks stone-faced while delivering his few unimportant lines.

Luckily it's pretty short, running only about 90 minutes, so the cycle doesn't go on for too long. It comes down to a ridiculous conclusion while trying to squeeze in a few more laughs, which it ultimately fails to do throughout the entire film. If there's one nice thing to say about "Killers," it's that it's better than "The Spy Next Door." 2/4 stars.
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