Feature-Length Pilot | “Killers” (2010) Movie Review

Do you ever watch a movie that feels like a pilot for a show? Not just like a Disney movie that ties to a Disney afternoon series. I’m talking about a movie marketed as a feature film, but when you watch it, it feels like it could work as a TV series. Well, this is one of those shows. It also has a lot of promise. With a cast including Ashton Kutcher, Katherine O’Hara, Tom Selleck, Katherine Heigl, and directed by the guy who did Legally Blonde, there’s a lot of potential for something like that.

Ashton Kutcher plays Spencer, a professional assassin who, while on a mission, falls for Jen (Katherine Heigl), a recently single woman on vacation with her parents (Tom Selleck and Katherine O’Hara respectively) to Paris. After going out with her, Spencer decides that he wants to leave the game and settle down. Years later, the two are married and living in a sleepy suburb. But one day, a league of assassins set a bounty on Spencer. With Jen learning about her husband’s past life, the two seek out Spencer’s old boss (Martin Mull) to learn what’s going on.

On the surface, the cast doesn’t seem too bad. While Ashton Kutcher is no Daniel Craig, you can tell he has the heart for the character. And he has pretty good chemistry with Katherine Heigl, who also gives a decent performance. Tom Selleck and Katherine O’Hara have potential but don’t rise up outside of protective father and alcoholic jokes from O’Hara. The supporting cast is enjoyable though, with Alex Borstein, Kevin Sussman and Rob Riggle standing out.

Watching this, I kept repeating, “this would work better as a television series.” Most of it comes from how much is packed in the first act. You have the lovebirds meeting, followed up by Spencer asking for Tom Selleck’s blessing, and the two are settled in married life; and too top it all off, there’s a pregnancy added to the mix. That alone could easily take up three seasons of TV and would make for a better-told story. Another problem is that the antagonist and stakes are absent. There’s a bounty on Spencer, but nothing builds up to it other than an underwhelming twist. It feels like the writers were working backwards from the idea of “spy stuff in suburbia,” but it doesn’t fulfill its potential.

One of the things I did enjoy, however, was the action sequences. While some of them are pretty basic, there are some moments that are creative. Two in particular stand out; one is an antler chandelier acting as Chekov’s gun and a milk carton that gets caught in the beginning of a fight scene. Other than that, the action is told through Heigl and Kutcher’s banter in that traditional action-comedy setup.

I really wanted to like this movie. Everything about this movie, from the story to the cast has so much potential. And with movies like Limitless and Taken having TV shows, I’m surprised this never got one. It would definitely help for this world to get one last mission to redeem itself.


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