Written & Directed by: Taran Killam
Run Time: 1h 32 min
Genre: Action, Comedy
2 1/2 Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
The opening scene for Killing Gunther, including the credits, is fantastic. It sets up the story perfectly. Right away, we learn that the film is coming from the point of view of a documentary crew. This film is that documentary. Blake (Killam) is a contract killer who hired the crew for proof of his actions. He explains that Gunther (Schwarzenegger) is at the top of the contract killing business, the king so to speak, and if you’re going to dethrone the king as Blake plans to do, you’re going to need the proof that you had been the one that took him out.
Blake proceeds to explain how he plans to do this. The reason he feels he’ll be successful is that he has put together a team of people he knows will get the job done. There’s Donnie (Moynihan) a man good at killing but not at relationships. Not surprisingly, he’s mostly comic relief. There’s Sanaa (Simone) who started killing at the age of eight. She wants to be recognized for her skills not for being her deadly father’s daughter. Watch out for his character. When he, whose nickname is ‘The Nightmare,’ enthusiastically fawns all over his daughter, he’s absolutely priceless. There’s a young hacker, a ‘human computer’ named Gabe (Brittian) who’s new to the group. He joined because there’s more money in all of this than just your ‘standard hacking.’ We also meet Ashley (Sixto) who doesn’t show up too much. I’ll let the film explain the reason why. With Ashley, who Blake introduces as his secret weapon, being on the team, he’s convinced there’s no way he can fail at his mission.
When a problem arises and Blake needs an extra man, he puts the word out that he needs someone. There are some very witty moments while he interviews some candidates for the job, especially when the criminals realize they’re being filmed and don’t want any part of it. Each of these cleverly written characters stands out in unique ways that you’ll appreciate.
Not far in, the documentary crew reveals the real reason that Blake wants Gunther. He can say it’s to be number one all he wants but it’s actually because of Lisa McCalla (Smulders), a retired hitwoman and… his ex-girlfriend! Lisa and Blake had been together for four years and she left him for, you guessed it, Gunther! When he’s confronted by the crew with Lisa’s name and what they know of her, Blake denies he ever heard of a Lisa. He proclaims that they must have been misinformed. What happens after that is quite memorable and something worth rewinding and watching more than once. It’s side-splitting and moments like this are all over the landscape of this film making it worth seeing more than once lest you overlooked something. During their conversations with Lisa, she informs us that she’s much happier not killing people anymore.
During the film, problems arise that I don’t want to give up here but Blake does end up confronting Gunther. Gunther informs him that his group had been infiltrated in several ways and he knew what Blake had been up to the entire time. There’s a special treat for the audience, in meeting Gunther. We get to hear a few classic action film lines which, no matter what you thought of the film up to this point, makes it an instant smash for any comedy fan. There are a few issues such as the budget and having to use cheesy effects, but Killam makes even that work to his advantage. It’s incredibly silly so don’t take it too seriously, just have fun! Oh! And watch the credits, as well.
*Opens at AMC Arizona Center and On Demand October 20th