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4.0 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A married couple is sent to a remote location by the Federal Witness Protection program. When a pair of ruthless hit men track them down, they are forced to fight for their lives.


The 1989 Elmore Leonard novel Killshot is a real palm-sweater, with a relentless storyline, compellingly conflicted protagonists running for their lives, and--just behind and sometimes ahead of them--a walking nightmare of a half-Indian stone killer named "Blackbird," plus the freaked-out small-timer he's taken under his wing. The movie version was produced by Quentin Tarantino's longtime partner Lawrence Bender, with Mickey Rourke as the hitman who lets no one live after seeing his face, the talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick) as his jittery acolyte Richie Nix, and Diane Lane and Thomas Jane as the about-to-divorce couple who run afoul of them by grotesque miscue and end up in the Witness Protection program. Sounds like a recipe for an edgy suspense classic--except that, after filming in 2005, the picture sat on the shelf for years, to be taken down for periodic recuts, which included dropping one whole line of action and the featured player associated with it. At 84 minutes, Killshot has been reduced to a collection of Leonard ingredients, still tantalizing but half-baked. The Oscar-nominated director of Shakespeare in Love is willing to let these lumpy remains be billed as "A John Madden Film," so blame him for failing to make more of Rourke's creepy rapport with putative victim Lane and Richie's Elvis-worshipping girlfriend Rosario Dawson, for Gordon-Levitt's over-the-top (but undeniably appropriate) portrayal of Richie, and for the heavyhanded editing and repetitious, over-interpretive dialogue (by Hossein Amini). There's some good wintry location work in Ontario and in Leonard's home-base Michigan, and a brief sojourn in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the birthplace of Rush Limbaugh. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Thomas Jane
  • Directors: John Madden
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: The Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: May 26, 2009
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001U0HB5Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,024 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Killshot" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Synopsis: Armand "The Blackbird" Degas (played by Mickey Rourke) is a professional criminal who travels to the Detroit area to conduct some criminal activities. He runs into low-life criminal Richie Nix (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), whom Degas takes a shining to despite Nix's reckless and sociopathic tendencies. The two decide to engage in an extortion attempt on a realtor and inadvertently involve husband and wife Wayne Colson (Thomas Jane) and Carmen Colson (Diane Lane) into their schemes. Well, after Nix is injured during the extortion attempt, the duo begin focusing on revenge more than the actual extortion. Meanwhile, the story begins placing added emphasis on the deteriorating relationship of the Colsons, who prior to meeting Degas and Nix were considering divorce. One thing leads to another and the Colsons have to seek witness protection to escape attempts on their life. But not even witness protection will stop the criminals from trying to find the couple...

First off, I enjoyed the film because of it's setup. The locations were excellent (my grandparents stay in Algonac, Michigan, so seeing portions of that and Detroit in the movie are awesome.) I also thought the casting was excellent too; you didn't hate Rourke despite the fact that he was a violent person and Levitt's character was one you LOVED to hate. The movie was intense but not entirely predictable like most action films are. In the end, you have a movie that feels like an action-romance story that could be equally intriguing as either or despite how violent the movie is.

What bums me out is what we didn't see in the film. The film wrapped post-production up in 2006(!!!
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Format: DVD
Armand "Blackgird" Degas (Rourke) is a hitman for the Toronto mafia. When his dedication to the job brings about the wrath of his employers, he falls in with Richie Nix (Gordon-Levitt), a two-time crook who's a bit too anxious for his own good. When they try one of Nix's many extortion schemes, they run into struggling couple Wayne and Carmen Colson (Jane and Lane). Degas is determined to let no one who sees his face live. Wayne and Carmen going into protective custody isn't about to stop that.

KILLSHOT is a perfectly decent thriller, with a wonderful premise that, though not wholly believable, is at least interesting and original. I haven't read the novel yet, though I plan to do so; I have a feeling the novel (written by the illustrious Elmore Leonard) explores the thematic potentials more fully than the film, which at times feels like a mish-mash of scenes rather than one solid whole. (This can be blamed on the long delay; I first saw previews for KILLSHOT years--literally years--ago.) The script itself is fairly solid, except for a few cliched lines of dialogue; there are a few genuine surprises, and even some damned-fine humor and action sequences.

Thomas Jane is solid as usual (I won't say "always;" he's had some clunker roles in the past, though it's usually the film's fault and not his), and Diane Lane manages to steal quite a few scenes. Overall, though, the film rests squarely on the broad shoulders of Mickey Rourke, who is delightfully sinister, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is overly campy and thoroughly enjoyable.
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Format: DVD
The story behind Killshot is actually more interesting than the film itself. Originally filmed in 2005, the Elmore Leonard adaptation directed by John Madden (the Shakespeare in Love director, not the football guru that is) sat on the shelf and was subsequently subjected to re-shoots and vast re-edits, so much so that Johnny Knoxville's role as a crooked cop was completely removed from the finished product. The end result however is that Killshot remains an engaging thriller, carried by the performances of its cast. Diane Lane and Thomas Jane star as Carmen and Wayne Colson respectively; an estranged, soon to be divorced couple who run afoul of a deadly hitman named Blackbird (Mickey Rourke) and his young, recently acquired accomplice Richie (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). The couple enter witness relocation, but it isn't long before Blackbird and Richie are in hot, relentless pursuit. Briskly paced and plenty compelling, Killshot often feels as if there are large moments missing from the film (and there are), as we see turns from Rosario Dawson, Lois Smith, and Hal Holbrook here for nothing more than what really amounts to extended cameos. Still, the performances from Rourke and particularly the talented Gordon-Levitt make Killshot as good as it is, and in that respect alone, the film is more than worth seeing. It should be noted however that despite the cuts to the film, there's no deleted scenes section, nor are there any Special Features on the DVD at all. Maybe oneday Madden and the Weinstein's will release the film as originally envisioned. One can only hope.
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