Clearly influenced by the master of action ‘John Woo’, Contract Killers promises ‘Gun-Porn’ on an epic scale and although it may not quite have the mastery or budget of some of the blockbuster action films does deliver a fast paced shoot-em-up with a bigger arsenal and ammo count than an 80’s action film, which if you are willing to sit back relax and enjoy a film which is clearly all about the action then you are set to enjoy Contract Killers.
Contract Killers is certainly not a plot driven film, granted it’s not the most thoughtless of scripts out there but it certainly lacks in depth. The ‘worlds greatest’ assassin has been hired with to deal with the local hitmen, one by one, the rest of the film pans out as a ‘cat and mouse’ scenario where the assassin is hunting down and fighting with the best of the hitmen in the game. The plot is merely a platform to deliver action, the film could have been about anything, there’s that much action in the film that by the end it’s more of a critique about how you felt about the “gun-porn” than anything else.
Granted there’s a side plot about ‘forbidden love’ but its paper thin, the romance is so forced that I felt bad for the lead female, she seems to deliver a convincing role but she’s up against some seriously dull co-cast members.
A disappointing element of the plot is the fact that the entire film is given away in the first ten minutes, there’s no build up or mystery, the pants are straight down and its laying the cards down in front of you......it does however give you a solid heads up, if you don’t think you’re going to enjoy it then bail out now as this is what’s on offer, there’s no deviation.....at all!
Action sequences occur regularly with one scene of gun violence leading to another one within a few minutes, throw in some martial arts (House of Flying Daggers this is not) however some of the actors look like they do have something in the way of a martial arts background and some of the hand to hand combat is realistic, and sometimes hilarious.
I did like the homeage-esque feel to the film, the director ‘Mathew Pearson’ has obviously taken note of a catalogue of previous action films and you can sense massively influenced set pieces every other scene. One of the first shoot outs it’s all about ‘dualies’ or the art of having 2 guns, one in either hand like an absolute boss...the only thing lacking from a classic ‘Woo’ scene is a set of doves!!! Personally I can watch this sort of mindless violence all day, its non offensive to me and I get on well with the fact that it’s not pretentious at all, it makes the most of the tools at hand, I don’t have to focus on the plot, I don’t care about any of the characters, they are all fodder and expendable at any point, I simply want to see people shooting at each with ridiculous amounts of bullets, a wide array of weaponry and some tense hand to hand moments where either villain or hero could come out on top!
Most of the cast are truly forgettable bar the hired assassin himself who although English is clearly not his native tongue actually looks the part and also has martial arts experience. Some of the rest of the cast are the ‘try hards’ that manage to turn a handful of scenes into a cringe fest, luckily dialogue is kept fairly low most of the time and it’s not long before were back to a shoot out!
‘Pearson’ has gone for a gritty style of cinematography, the whole film is shot with a mirky ‘night-time’ tint even though some of the scenes have been shot in the day, everything is washed out, personally for me this doesn’t work, I would of liked to have seen some of the weapons and shoot outs in a brighter environment, the contrast is that bad that the finale of the film feels like someone literally turned the lights on. I can see the direction it was heading for, some of the best films out there lack in colour and it adds a depth like no other but that requires as we know a hefty budget.......after all shooting a film at night is rumoured to be the hardest in the industry.
Although Contract Killers can be heavily critiqued in a negative way I did actually enjoy it, it wasn’t over the top it certainly doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not and for me the action was good enough to warrant sitting through the whole film. Gun-porn is delivered, and director Pearson will be on the look-out list, interesting to see what can be achieved with a heavier budget.