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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Killers

September 9th, 2010

Killers - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Lionsgate is a distributor that usually works with smaller films, at least smaller compared to the average Hollywood film. Killers is one of their early attempts at breaking into the big blockbuster market as it cost $75 million to make. However, while it cost big bucks to make, it stumbled at the box office opening in third place and finishing with just shy of $50 million. Now that it has come out on Blu-ray / DVD, does it deserve to find a more receptive audience on the home market?

The Movie

Katherine Heigl stars as Jen Kornfeldt, a woman who has just been dumped by her boyfriend for being too cautious. She doesn't get too far down and continues with her planned vacation with her mother and father in Nice, France. While there she meets Spencer, an American who is also on vacation there and he invites her for drinks. She accepts, but what she doesn't know if that he's on a working vacation, and he is a assassin working for, as he calls them, "the blah blah blah."

Trying to avoid being predictable, which drove away her past boyfriend, she tries to shake things up, but that charade doesn't last the night. However, far from driving away Spencer, he's smitten by her geeky charms, so much so that he quits being an assassin and asks her to marry him. Of course, this doesn't sit well with his boss, who informs him you don't just get to quit being an assassin.

Flash forward three years and they are happily married and for Spencer's birthday, Jen bought the pair of them tickets to Nice, to go back where things began. Due to his connections to Nice, and his past work there, he's less than thrilled to go back. Then he's contacted by his old boss who tells him he has to complete one last job, and when he refuses, a $20 million bounty is placed on his head. And now he has everyone he knew trying to kill him.

This film earned terrible reviews, some of the worst of the year. At first, I felt the complaints were a little unfair. For the first third of the film it looked like it would be a passable, if unremarkable, romantic comedy. At this point, it is a story of newlyweds with the husband having to deal with a past life, as well as the couple dealing with an overprotective father and an eccentric mother. The chemistry isn't great, there is a strong sense of familiarity in the story, but it is acceptable for the genre. As long as the action scenes held their own, it would be fine. ... Then the action kicked in. Warning: Spoilers ahead. Highlight to read. First of all, when the action started, the chemistry between the two leads evaporated and a lot of the film's charm is gone. Secondly, around the third or fourth time someone they knew turned out to be an undercover killer just waiting for their chance, it went from being an not so unexpected twist to completely absurd. It's like this film was written by a xerox machine with the same type of scene happening over and over again. Finally, most of the action is only average. We've seen better action scenes in similar movies before. In fact, I recently reviewed Date Night and both films are similar genres, and Killers pales in comparison.

Finally, I must talk about the final reveal... Warning: Major spoilers ahead. I am about to spoil the end of the movie. Highlight to read. We learn in the end that Spencer's final job in Nice, France was to kill Jen's father, Mr. Kornfeldt, who is also secretly a C.I.A. Agent. Spencer didn't know that's what he was doing, he was just placing a bomb on a helicopter. However, Mr. Kornfeldt knew this and was able to avoid it after he saw Spencer in the hotel lobby. When his daughter and Spencer fell in love, he set up sleeper agents in their lives to monitor Spencer to see if he had gone to the other side. With me so far? Good. They remained in inactive status until Mr. Kornfeldt saw the postcard from Spencer's former boss, at which time he thought Spencer was going to finish the job he started in Nice, so he activated them and they all tried to kill Spencer. So in essence, all those people Spencer killed were not bad guys, but good guys looking to stop Spencer from killing Mr. Kornfeldt. This is by far the biggest plot hole in the movie, but there were others. For instance, where were the cops? And car doors don't stop bullets.

Killers had potential to be a fun romantic comedy with some action scenes thrown in. But in an attempt to make it a bigger action movie with a twist ending, it wasted its potential.

The Extras

I only have the Blu-ray, which has several extras, starting with an 11-minute behind-the-scenes featurette. There are a dozen deleted / extended / alternate scenes and 90-seconds of outtakes. There are also a few exclusives, but not a lot of substance. Bookmarks, ticker for new releases, etc.

Technically the film is great with excellent depth of color and great contrast. The sound mix is almost as good as the video with strong use of the surround speakers.

Finally, the Blu-ray only costs 27% more than the DVD, which is fine for this type of release.

The Verdict

Killers is a movie that started out pleasantly enough, but part way through it crashed and burned. Neither the DVD nor the Blu-ray have enough extras to compensate. Maybe if you are a fan of Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher, then maybe it is worth a rental. Maybe.

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Filed under: Video Review, Killers