March 30, 2010

Contract Killers


So imagine a really boring version of The Bourne Identity made with a small budget and a female lead. You there? OK. You've seen Contract Killers.

The film begins with Jane (Frida Farrell) being drugged and waking up to a dead husband. The viewer comes to find out, when Jane shoots and rides her way out of her surrounded house, that she's a CIA assassin. Fair enough. From there it's typical stuff--the CIA is after her, she knows something she shouldn't, so on and so forth. Jane meets up with and bullies a civilian, Lars (Christian Willis), then forms an alliance with a CIA operative sent to kill her, Pernell (Rhett Giles). There are many cryptic phone conversations with between Jane and some suits at the CIA. And then the film is over.

The acting is bad. The plot is...not so much a plot. Really, it's just a terrible movie. There is a reason it went straight to DVD. Jane herself is perfectly competent, and her character is improved slightly when you learn her original reason for becoming an assassin is that her sister was raped and killed and she avenged those wrongs. But given the film's overall suckitude, those are really just crumbs. Plus, towards the end of the film, it's clearly Jane's partnership with male operative Pernell that keeps her alive. Ick.

This is also a white movie. There are two colors of character, both minor (a second CIA assassin sent to kill Jane and a CIA agent at the headquarters office). Race is a non-issue in either case, so I can't really remove points based on racism, but I can't add them based on great racial insight, either.

I'm giving this one two stars. It's a bad movie. Nothing about it really offended me, but nothing impressed me, either.


I watched this before you did and I wondered what you would make of it. No arguing that it was a Bourne knockoff, and despite a pretty impressive fight scene late in the movie, not terribly compelling. Or clear in the plot department.

Would be interested to know what you mean by this, though: "her character is improved slightly when you learn her original reason for becoming an assassin is that her sister was raped and killed and she avenged those wrongs."

I would have preferred that for once, we get a woman who's an assassin just because she's really good at it - although the reasoning behind her recruitment was more about her demonstrated capacity for violence than her strong sense of right and wrong, so maybe that's actually the case. I'm just a little tired of the rape backstory for the ass-kicking woman, even if in this case they've shunted the victim over to being the sister instead of the main character.

Maybe you meant that scene is the first time in the entire movie where they even attempt to provide her with some characterization? In which case I completely agree.

I really meant both: it was the only place in the movie where she's given any motivation of any sort. But beyond that, I liked the idea of her being an avenger not for a child (which is usually the case with an action heroine), but for a sister. Like female friendship, sisterhood is not something we see often in any movies, at least not with positive portrayal. So I didn't have an issue with that. Now that you bring it up, though, I agree with you on the rape-as-motivation thing.

Yeah, the rape doesn't sound too good.

Also, in the review it says, "there are two colors of character", which is a nice phrase, but probably meant the other way round?

LOL. Yes, good catch! That is intended to read "characters of color."

I think I'll save my applause for the sisterhood thing until we get a film where one of the sisters isn't dead. :)

Hearing about this film just makes me want to watch the Long Kiss Goodnight again.



Powered by Movable Type 4.34-en

Happily hosted by Media Temple.

We would be sad without Better File Uploader.

Theme adapted with permission from RAWK by Liz Lubovitz.