When I saw that the Katherine Heigl / Ashton Kutcher action comedy Killers had become available for instant viewing on NetFlix®, I decided to give it a shot as well. Would Heigl finally make a movie that brought the funny? Or had she and Kutcher – missing from movies recently – stumbled across another bad idea?
Katherine Heigl has never been one to impress with her acting talents. Instead, she usually plays the situational comedy shtick, relying on her fish-out-of-water charm (that helped her win over viewers on “Grey’s Anatomy” (TV)) to bring the laughs for her. Of course, she needs a solid story around her to provide that. Unfortunately, Killers doesn’t give her that, making her look ridiculous, but in a sad sort of way.
Ashton Kutcher, who has spent the last few years playing house with Demi Moore instead of making movies, turns out to be a bit rusty in Killers. His dour expression seems to fight large doses of panic, even when merely speeding down an obviously blocked-off street. He seems entirely out of his element as a secret agent, and viewers won’t believe it for a second. He’s better when he’s flirting with Heigl or simply shooting a gun, but that lack of believability still hangs over his performance like a shroud.
There are a few shining moments from bit actors. The ever-funny Rob Riggle, who manages to make even a deadly assassin seem both comical and dangerous, simply by roaring around half the time with bits of birthday cake hanging from his face. Catherine O’Hara, playing a tipsy drunk, does a decent job as well, even if her alcoholism isn’t actually funny. Sadly, Tom Selleck seems to be around simply for the conversation to turn, as it often does, to his thick mustache, rather than to give him any real attempt to get back in the acting game.
Unlike the rather fun, and similarly themed, Knight and Day (2010), Killers manages to screw up the whole secret-agent-falls-for-normal-girl thing. With nearly half the film spent on the romance aspect, the actual gunplay is time-limited. The director seems to realize that, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the heroes in order to wake the viewers up.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for the plot to come together. The film ends up coming off as a haphazard mess, up to and including the reasoning behind the attacks. While there seems to have been quite a bit of time spent on developing the romantic angle, there was obviously not as much planning invested in the fight-or-flight aspect. The seemingly unending bad guys just flopping out of the woodwork – merely to be quickly dispatched without more than a few words uttered – dulls the film. The viewers will long for more of the Riggle/Kutcher fight, thus forcing the director to leave the other less entertaining bad guys sitting on the cutting room floor.
Killers can’t even deliver a twist without exposing it nearly from the beginning of the action. It leaves the viewers disappointed and slightly befuddled by the ridiculous wrap-up at the end, so the viewers are even denied a satisfying conclusion after all the anonymous mayhem.
A plot that obviously wasn’t thought all the way through beforehand. Some ho-hum action after nearly wasting half the film on an incredibly cheesy romantic build-up. Highlighting the biggest flaws in it’s performances. Robert Luketic’s Killers is nothing but an inept copy of Knight and Day (2010), and should have gone back to the drawing board a few more times before seeing the light of day.