Contract Killers

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“If they come out with the pilot episode, I wouldn’t mind seeing it, but otherwise, I don’t think I’ll tune in next week.”

This feels more like a mid-season episode of Alias than anything else, and not much more than a filler episode at that. I say this, because so little effort is put into developing the characters, it’s as if the makers reckon everything had already been established in the previous seven installments. And since there are no such episodes, this leads to a very low level of interest in the proceedings as they unfold. It centers on “Jane” (Farrell), a CIA killer who finds herself on the receiving end of a burn notice, and forced on the run, as she tries to find out why she’s been targetted for elimination by her boss. This takes her Trinidad, where she finds an unlikely partner in the vacationing Lars (Willis), and hunted by another hired hitman, Pernell (Giles, for whom we have a soft spot, from his days working with infamous B-movie mayhem merchants, The Asylum).

Technically, it’s competent enough. If nothing too stunning, the action is fairly frequent and reasonably well-filmed, and Farrell does bring a certain hard-edged competence to her character. The main problem is that the script gave me absolutely no reason to care about her, or anyone else who taking part. The only element of backstory provided for Jane, is 30 seconds of exposition thrown away somewhere in the middle; it doesn’t result from anything, tie into anything, lead into anything and is ignored for the rest of the movie. It wouldn’t necessarily have taken a great deal of effort; I’m not demanding her entire lifestory, just some quirks to suggest there was actually a human being present, not simply an asset being pushed from scene to scene by the director. Almost exactly the same problem affects the other characters: no depth, no humanity, no purpose.

On the positive side, there’s some nice use of locations, and a certain sense of paranoia, even if that might be because the central purpose of the bad guys (it involves a software program they’re going to use to attack the financial markets) is never entirely clear. Or maybe I’d given up paying attention by this point, the movie having finally lost its battle for my attention. Maybe it could be rescued with 15 minutes of “Previously, on Contract Killers…” at the start. Wouldn’t bet on it though.

Dir: Justin Rhodes
Stars: Frida Farrell, Christian Willis, Rhett Giles, Nick Mancuso

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