Poor Liam Hemsworth. The tall, handsome actor was almost selected for the role of Thor. He could now be a superstar but lost the role to none other than older brother Chris. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for Liam, Chris (Thor) had no interest in the role of Killerman, a New York City money launderer surrounded by filthy, dreadful low-lifes.
Written and directed by Malik Bader (“Street Thief”), “Killerman” is an urban crime thriller that features a nice enough jeweler named Moe (Hemsworth “Hunger Games”). Moe does side jobs for the mob but gets in way over his head, especially when he wakes up with no memory and surrounded by millions of dollars in stolen cash and drugs.
It is noted that drugs are a hundred billion dollar industry and that Moe is working for a mob needing to launder $26 million. The New York City setting is dark and grimy and that’s just the people. Other than Moe, who is being chased by vicious thugs and dirty cops, there isn’t one likable character in the entire movie.
Moe’s best buddy is called Skunk (Emory Cohen “War Machine”). From what we could tell, there was good reason for that name. The drug kingpin is Skunk’s Uncle Perico (Zlatko Buric “2012”), a blathering slob who calls all the shots. The only reason the bumbling Skunk is around is because he happens to be the son of Perico’s sister.
The greatest challenge for a drug kingpin, other than making, transporting and selling the drugs, is laundering such large amounts of cash. Moe works a complex system that turns cash into gold bars, back into cash and then to cashier checks. Everything seems to be going well until Skunk gets a bright idea to make a little side deal using his Uncle’s money. What could go wrong?
After getting double-crossed, watching some dirty cops get involved and barely escaping in a New York City car chase, they are involved in a terrible car accident, which is where Moe gets amnesia. When he looks at the situation, he asks, “I’m a drug dealer?” Not exactly, but he’s in just as deep and has a lot of angry people looking for him.
For a movie that has quite a bit of action, the plot just doesn’t seem to advance very quickly. Each lackluster scene is mired in the muddy atmosphere. The cumulative effect is tedious and annoying. Most of the gritty violence is off-camera with implied gruesomeness, yet the blood still sprays from an off-screen super soaker.
Moe is committed to scouring the streets in search of answers about his true identity, while trying to dodge a crew of violent and crooked cops. Skunk has been given notice by Uncle Slobbo to get out of town for good. Along the way, Moe learns about Lola (Diane Guerrero) his pregnant girlfriend, who could get caught up in his troubles.
This movie has about 60 minutes of a fairly decent plot “squeezed” into 112 minutes. It is not only overly long; it’s just boring from start to finish. Hemsworth is the only character worth watching but isn’t strong enough to carry the load. Worse yet, he appears to be in the wrong movie. All the characters look like they just walked out of the sewer, while Hemsworth, splattered in grease and grime, still looks like he just walked off the cover of GQ Magazine.
“Killerman”is 112 minutes and rated R for violence, pervasive language, drug material and some sexuality. The summer blockbusters are gone and holiday blockbusters still a over a month away. So, this picture was released in late August for a reason. Charitably, we’ll just say that the moviemakers just aimed low and hit the mark.
In fairness, the acting is solid, dialog fascinating and characters credible. We just kept waiting for something to happen, but each scene takes too long to develop. Finally, we started wondering if maybe during one of the shoot-outs, we got winged by a tranquilizer gun. The pulpy film is not really that bad, but should be called “Godfather for Dummies.”
Ron’s Rating: C-
Leigh’s Rating: D-