DVD Review: ‘Killshot’ With Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane Finally Gets Released

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CHICAGO – How does a movie with Oscar-nominated leads, a prominent director, beloved source material, and an excellent supporting cast get delayed for so long that it inevitably gets quietly shuffled off to DVD? Well, if history tells us anything, having a complicated and troubled project in the Weinstein Company archives doesn’t help a movie like “Killshot,” an action thriller that has its flaws but none so big that it deserved such an unusual and lackluster fate.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 1.0/5.0
DVD Rating: 1.0/5.0

Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Thomas Jane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Rosario Dawson started shooting “Killshot” with director John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love”) in 2005. Then the dreaded Weinstein test audience process began. Entire characters (including one played by Johnny Knoxville) were excised from the film and “Killshot” had more release date delays than nearly any movie in history.

Of course, everyone moved on and Mickey Rourke became a star again with “The Wrestler”. So, after a minor theatrical release, “Killshot” is being quietly released in what is essentially a straight-to-DVD release to bank off Rourke’s return to fame.

Killshot was released on DVD on May 26th, 2009.
Killshot was released on DVD on May 26th, 2009.
Photo credit: HBO Home Video

It has to be horrible, right? Only a train wreck of a film would suffer a fate as awful as the editing out of complete characters, three years of release date delays, and a straight-to-DVD release with no accompanying Blu-Ray, right? Of course not.

Killshot was released on DVD on May 26th, 2009.
Killshot was released on DVD on May 26th, 2009.
Photo credit: HBO Home Video

To be fair, “Killshot” has some problems. It’s not too hard to see what turned off test audiences and spooked the executives. Hossein Amini’s screenplay based on the book by Elmore Leonard doesn’t quite work and even Madden doesn’t seem to have the right grasp on the character-driven crimes of one of the best genre authors of the last century. It’s hard to tell how many of the problems with “Killshot” are directly related to the nightmare post-production and how many were there in the first place, but it’s not like this is a perfect hidden gem that was completely railroaded by the Hollywood machine. But while it may not be perfect, “Killshot” deserved a better fate.

I think audiences will take to “Killshot” on DVD. Action films always do well on the home market and Rourke is absolutely beloved by nearly everyone who saw “The Wrestler”.

Rourke plays a hitman named Blackbird, a deadly killer who leaves no loose ends. Blackbird gets pressured into a job with the psychotic Richie Nix (a movie-stealing Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and stumbles across a pair of witnesses (Thomas Jane & Diane Lane) who see his face. The struggling couple gets put in the witness protection program and the rest of the film is basically a ticking clock until the two pairs inevitably meet up again.

Killshot was released on DVD on May 26th, 2009.
Killshot was released on DVD on May 26th, 2009.
Photo credit: HBO Home Video

The set-up for “Killshot” is interesting but the follow-through is dull and plodding. It’s hard to tell, but it’s unlikely that years of delays and editing did anything to help the final product. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Thomas Jane, and Rosario Dawson all do good work but Rourke and Lane are surprisingly dull. Both of these actors are capable of so much more when given better material.

The film itself might be a solid 2.5/5 but this is a “DVD review” and the home release for “Killshot” is absolutely pathetic. With all the editing, you would think there would at least be a FEW deleted scenes. And how amazing would it have been to hear a commentary by Madden or anyone else involved after all this time? Have they all forgotten they made the film?

The fact is that in today’s market of great technical transfers and hours of special features, a bare-bones DVD without a single bonus and standard video & audio just doesn’t cut it. “Killshot” deserved better.

‘Killshot’ is released by The Weinstein Company and stars Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Thomas Jane. It was written by Hossein Amini and directed by John Madden. The DVD was released on May 26th, 2009. It is rated R.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Anonymous's picture

Excellent film

I just rented this movie and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Hollywood is SORELY lacking layered stories these days and this was a breath of fresh air for me. Shame it was buried the way it was. I too was annoyed at the lack of behind the scenes and/or deleted scenes. If it’s a DVD release, they should throw the kitchen sink in there and let us pick what we want to watch. I hope it makes its way to blu-ray someday with additional cutting room floor material and/or possibly even a directors cut.

Anonymous's picture

Great Film

Just watched this last evening…. was pleasantly surprised. I watch anything with Diane Lane and have been a Rourke fan since 9 1/2 weeks. There were some things that didn’t add up, some background that could have been explored, but I felt it was a solid movie. I was left wanting more at the end, however. I found myself truly mesmerized by Richie’s character. I recommend this one, even with the flaws mentioned by the reviewer.

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