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A vacationing woman meets her ideal man, leading to a swift marriage. Back at home, however, their idyllic life is upset when they discover their neighbors could be assassins who have been contracted to kill the couple.
For more about Killers and the Killers Blu-ray release, see Killers Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on September 17, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Catherine O'Hara, Tom Selleck, Kevin Sussman, Usher Raymond
Director: Robert Luketic
» See full cast & crew
Killers Blu-ray Review
You may wish that Ashton Kutcher's hitman character would put you out of your misery about halfway through 'Killers'.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, September 17, 2010
It's a truism that there isn't an original idea to be found in Hollywood. That phenomenon evidently extends to film titles as well, as there are no fewer than eight films or television productions which carry the moniker Killers (sometimes with a definite article). Of course, that really doesn't mean much, when you consider the actual Killer productions are everything from adaptations of Hemingway's short story to, sadly, this lamentable 2010 enterprise which rehashes material you've seen before, and better, in everything from True Lies to Mr. and Mrs. Smith (the Pitt-Jolie film, not the Hitchock comedy, speaking of repeated uses of titles). You know, unwitting spouse discovers mate is actually a (choose one): a) superspy; b) assassin; c) idiot; d) all of the above. Here we get Ashton Kutcher portraying Spencer Aimes, some sort of high level operative who, when not courting his "meet cute" girlfriend and ultimately wife, Jennifer Kornfeldt (Katherine Heigl), is planting bombs, evading hit men, and doing a bit of killing himself. Killers wants to be yet another "action comedy," a mélange of genres that in this instance never provides substantial or consistent enough laughs, while delivering some completely ridiculously illogical, if extremely loud and boisterous, action sequences. About the only bit of interest, albeit completely tangential to the film itself, is the lingering question of whether Kutcher will pull a Mr. and Mrs. Smith "Pitt" and leave Demi Moore of Katherine Heigl.
Things actually start out relatively promisingly in Killers, with some deliciously funny interplay between Heigl and Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara as her parents. Selleck is uptightness personified, the sort of person who actually reads the safety trifolds on airplanes, while O'Hara is a lush who insists the stewardess still bring three drinks even though her husband and daughter won't be partaking. And though there's a certain awkwardness to some of the Heigl and Kutcher's first scenes, at least partially appropriate to the characters, the opening segment in the gorgeous coastal community of Nice quite neatly sets up Kutcher's hitman secret life against Heigl's recently dumped, normal geek girl character. But things begin to go at least partially awry almost immediately thereafter, with a quick cut to Jen and Spencer nearing engagement, and then even more fatally, a segue to "three years later." Spencer's transformation from killer to domestic hubby is especially odd and given a rather cursory short shrift; he voices one half hearted line about not liking what he does, and then, guess what, he's magically morphed into the perfect picture of Ward Cleaver-ness, 21st century style.
In fact this middle segment of Killers just sort of sits there like one of Spencer's own victims post-mortem, drooling slowly on the floor. Despite some occasional, if slight, laughs (Selleck defers Kutcher calling him "Mr. Kornfeldt" after Kutcher asks for Heigl's hand in marriage, answering, "Please just call me 'sir'"), there's no dramatic (or perhaps more importantly, comedic) momentum, despite the lame attempt to stir up marital angst when one of Jen's friends insists she and Spencer are in a "three year snooze" and Spencer may be about to cheat. In Killers' defense, the film rather abruptly springs to wakefulness, if not fully to vibrant life, when Spencer's womanizing partner, nicely essayed by The Daily Show's Rob Riggle, turns out to be a hired assassin himself, and Spencer is his target.
That sets the film out on its most exciting moments, as Spencer and Jennifer run from a series of would be hitmen (and women), although at the same time it pushes the film into such an epic of surreality that any real threat of danger is minimized, and Heigl and Kutcher's attempt to keep things more or less natural just seems patently ridiculous. How many suburban neighborhoods have you lived in where there were shootings, car chases (through yards), and explosions galore? Is there no local police force that occasionally comes around to see what all the ruckus is about? More importantly, the ultimate reason given for all of these secret operatives surrounding Jen and Spencer strains credulity to the breaking point, making True Lies and Mr. and Mrs. Smith seem like models of brilliantly logical screenwriting by comparison.
The best parts of Killers can be summed up in a couple of ways, one visual and one performance centered. Visually, the opening segment in Nice is spectacular, especially when it comes after a very stylish Saul Bass inspired title sequence. From the gorgeous pool area hugging a cliffside beach to some equally beautiful establishing shots of Spencer driving a bright red sports car along a twisting coastal highway, there's an excellent sense of place, which is aptly played against the hit Spencer orchestrates. Performance wise, while Kutcher and Heigl are certainly breezy enough, and obviously very charismatic and easy to watch, the film belongs to the supporting players part and parcel. O'Hara is always a joy to watch, and she's simply wonderful even in this underwritten and one-note role. Selleck is also smartly understated in a role that ultimately makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I won't spoil the putative surprise waiting at the end of the film, but anyone with half a brain in their head can see it coming from a mile away, despite the fact that the mechanics of the surprise are so completely illogical when you think about them you're apt to destroy that half a brain quite handily.
Killers Blu-ray, Video Quality
Killers benefits immensely from a visual perspective from its really stunning looking opening segment in Nice. Delivered via an AVC codec, in 1080p and a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, colors are bright, bold and extremely well saturated in this sequence and detail is amazing, sometimes to the detriment of the more "seasoned" actors. Notice, for example, how when O'Hara turns sideways in the hotel lobby you can clearly see the (lightly colored) hair growing on her cheek. Water is wonderfully detailed here, with some beautiful dappled light effects. Once the film returns stateside, the visual bounty isn't quite so overwhelming, but we still are offered a very sharp and reasonably detailed picture, though I personally found it odd how pinkish-yellow a lot of the shots were. Contrast is very good and black levels are consistent throughout the film, with both fine detail and shadow detail looking great. There are one or two extremely quick passing moments of shimmer on some of the outdoor shots, but they're negligible. Otherwise, this is a great looking transfer.
Killers Blu-ray, Audio Quality
I must be getting older, because I found some of the subwoofer pumping in Killers' impressively robust lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix almost too much of a good thing. This is a fun and often extremely immersive soundtrack, which segues very nicely from quieter dialogue moments (which in and of themselves also provide a wealth of more subtle ambient surround activity) to the completely over the top action sequences, where explosions, machine gun fire and squealing tires surround the listener in a panoply of aural activity. Dynamic range is especially iimpressive in this track, which contains everything from O'Hara whispering insults about Heigl's ex-boyfriend, to seemingly half the suburb where Kutcher and Heigl end up going up in a variety of flames and gunfire. LFE really works overtime on this track, including some pumped up dance music early in the film that actually produced some air pressure changes in my home theater environment with every hit of the bass drum. Dialogue is crisp and clear and subtly directional, and both underscore and foley effects are well mixed into the soundfield.
Killers Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Killers has an assortment of fairly standard extras supplementing the main feature:
Killers Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Perhaps it's simply a case of this territory having been covered too many times previously, or an overall lack of ingenuity in its execution (no pun intended), but too much of Killers wanders aimlessly, delivering neither laughs nor suspense. Heigl and Kutcher make a very appealing lead couple, and the supporting cast is aces, and there's nothing so horrible here that you'll feel like you've wasted your money if you rent this. But it really could have, and should have, been a lot better.
Killers: Other Editions
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Killers Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Sales, September 6-12: Killers Makes a Killing (Update) - September 16, 2010
The action romantic comedy Killers may have underperformed at the box office, but it was easily the top-selling title on Blu-ray during the week ended September 12, according to Nielsen VideoScan. The week was otherwise dominated by TV season sets. The highest ...
• Killers Blu-ray Announced - July 27, 2010
Lionsgate Home Entertainment has announced Killers for release on Blu-ray on September 7. This action movie/romantic comedy (not the 1946 film noir classic) stars Katherine Heigl as a woman who thinks she has found the man of her dreams (Aston Kutcher) - only he ...
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