2nd April (UK, VOD)
A group of eccentric assassins are fed up with Gunther, the world's greatest hitman, and decide to kill him, but their plan turns into a series of bungled encounters as Gunther seems to always be one step ahead.
Taran Killam, Dave 'Squatch' Ward, Bobby Moynihan
Hapless hitmen hunt an elusive assassin in Killing Gunther, a tonally unbalanced yet consistently funny actioner.
Killing Gunther follows Blake (Taran Killam) an eccentric hitman who assembles a team of equally odd contract killers to find and eliminate Gunther, the best in the profession. Hiring a film crew to document his attempts and provide proof of their success, the group find that tracking down the world’s best killer-for-hire is as tough as it sounds, with Gunther always one step ahead of their plans.
The brainchild of Taran Killam, who stars as the lead Blake, Killing Guther is an energetic, rapid fire action comedy in which you’re only mere seconds away from another gag. The hit rate of the humour is largely hit more than miss and the film has the vibe of a Saturday Night Live skit (a show which Killam has links with), but as a result, even at a brisk 93 minutes, it does feel like the premise is very much a case of not enough butter spread over a whole lot of bread.
The cast do their utmost to make it work though and it’s their belief in the material which gives Killing Guther its life. Killam is the smartly dressed but dim-witted Blake, Bobby Moynihan plays explosives expert Donnie, Hannah Simone is Sanna the offspring of a legendary hitman and Paul Brittain portrays tech novice Gabe.
Other members include Izzat, who has a robotic arm, revenge-seeking Yong who has a grudge against Gunther for killing his snake and unhinged twins Mia and Barold. It’s a varied team indeed and their traits are distinctive enough to give them their own scene highlights.
It’s a shame then that the film frequently switches rather unnecessarily to the talking head interview format to keep up the appearance of it being a documentary. Each time Killing Gunther feels like its hitting its stride in a ludicrous attempt to catch the titular assassin, the gathering momentum is the only victim as the film concerns itself with an avoidable romantic subplot between Blake and ex-lover, Lisa (played by Cobie Smulders). These sections seemingly try to tackle a more dramatic approach and ultimately make Killing Gunther’s tone an indecisive one.
The poster heavily advertises the appearance of the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger, but don’t be fooled: his participation is more of a cameo than a featured role. His presence is a memorable one though, and his role is clearly a loving homage to the plethora of tough guy roles he’s undertaken in his 40-plus year career.
Nevertheless, Killing Guther is sure to please fans of slapstick, parodical comedies such as the Naked Gun and Hot Shots! movies. It could have benefited from being more laser-sighted in its tone, but the dedicated cast, extravagant assassin characters and semi-automatic speed of joke delivery make it a murderously amusing way to execute 90 minutes of your time.
Dedicated cast with an eccentric variety of characters
The momentum of action stopped by the documentary style interviews