Killing Gunther Review – The Modern Family Approach To The Hitman Genre
I love Cobie Smulders, of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Avengers’ fame, and I really have a soft spot for Arnold Schwarzenegger as I grew up on a menu of his action films. So having these two as the top two billed stars for this darkly comic cat-and-mouse action film was surely going to be in its favour. Unfortunately, their very minimal appearances misleads the film and actually, I think director Taran Killam undersold himself as the lead and should have taken the top billing. I understand why they have done it, to pull in their audience, but unfortunately, this isn’t enough to make up for the missing spark that this film needs. It uses a style of filmmaking similar to Netflix’s American Vandal, using two documentary makers to tell the story from their unique perspective, and I liked this, it was an alternative approach that served its story well. I couldn’t help think that Modern Family, The Office and even Arrested Development have all had their own impact on Killam, as he very much utilised the direct address and interview approach to the performances.
The story follows a very dysfunctional team of assassins as they attempt to exact their revenge on Gunther. Told primarily from the point of view of Blake, he hires a documentary crew to get unequivocal proof of their assassination attempts, but is hiding some other intentions that the documentary crew accidentally uncover. The team are quickly caught off guard by Gunther and what ensues is a darkly comic caper that has some interesting set-pieces and potentially clever plot twists that would have stood proud in other higher-budgeted films.
Schwarzenegger and Smulders are stand out stars, but their limited screen-time is sadly holding back the film. Killam stands out and is a brilliant comic actor, but I would have liked to see a slightly higher budget to raise the quality of the CGI and special effects. It was 90 minutes of mindless fun and frivolity, but is never going to blaze the way in terms of excellence. I would have preferred seeing this as a 6 part comedy on Amazon or Netflix.
‘Killing Gunther’ comes to iTunes, Amazon, Rakuten TV, Play, Microsoft, Sky Store, TalkTalk, Vubiquity, and BT on 2nd April 2018.
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Gray has been teaching Media and Film studies for 11 years now, and saturates himself in a world of TV and Film. Can most regularly be found with his iPad bingeing on a TV series whenever there is a spare moment between planning and marking. Gray has 3 years of writing experience for exam boards and educational resource companies too.