“Are you fucking kidding me? Who has an elevator in their house?” – Blake, Killing Gunther (2017)
It’s always nice to branch into something new and different. An exciting opportunity is hidden behind every unique and new film. Unfortunately, some of these films lead to what can only be described as genuine boredom. So going into Killing Gunther, having little to no idea of what it was, is a bit of a risk. A film by someone I had never heard of with a cast made up almost entirely of people I didn’t know. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot of things surprisingly, my God. Quite a lot went wrong.
A team of top tier hitmen, led by Blake (Taran Killam) join together to kill the world’s best assassin, Gunther (Arnold Schwarzenegger). They brush through a number of failed plans and romantic subplots to try and reach their goal. All the while the unwilling cameraman, (because this is a found footage documentary apparently) is led around on the group’s horribly planned out escapades. A supporting cast that includes Cobie Smulders, Hannah Simone and Bobby Moynihan doesn’t help this ridiculously contrived film.
So this was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s big return to action films. Who would have thought Killing Gunther, an independent film, would be the big return we received. Look, it’s amazingly cool to see Arnold back in action, but come on. Actually, Arnold was the best part about this film and he’s there for a whole twenty or so minutes. But to be fair in that time we do get to see him get some pretty good looking choreography in. If you do in fact take anything away from this film then you should take the fact that Arnie’s still got it. The timing, the fighting, he’s not lost a single ounce of talent.
As for the rest of the cast though, what can really be said about them? They manage to fit the stereotype of geek, woman, ethnic, leader. For some reason they also throw Japan, Russia and paraplegics in too. Overall they’re just killed off one by one. All but two remain by the end of the film. That is technically a spoiler, you’re right. But I haven’t told you who dies and it’s not as if you’re going to watch this film anyway is it?
Somehow the acting degrades in quality throughout the film. Yong (Aaron Yoo) was possibly the worst out of the cast. That’s certainly not to say that the rest of the cast are any better though. People who have actual amounts of talent such as Cobie Smulders are completely wasted on this film. Because the script is bad, so are the rest of the cast and it’s definitely obvious.
Hopefully you noticed that I mentioned this film was shot in the style of found footage. For some reason this film did actually decide to use an angle of found footage. Why they did this I have no clue, it adds nothing to the film. Well, that’d be a lie because I can sort of see what they’re going for. The fact that the camera man is in fact there does add to a bit of the humour. However the problem with found footage is that you begin to rely too much on the same few jokes. The main joke was that the cameraman was scared for his life, such fun, right? See these jokes can be funny once or twice, but the film even cocks that one time up. First person found footage is never a good choice, especially not for a comedy film.
For some reason this film really just likes to annoy the viewer. Not only do they use that found footage stuff, they splice it with some talking head interviews. If that wasn’t bad enough, they’re edited in the same style as a YouTube vlogger. Not identical though, there isn’t any time or effort really put into this film when you look at it. Everything in this regard is very choppy to say the least. These talking heads were neither funny or even useful to the plot, I’ve no clue why they were there.
When you make a comedy film you need to make sure that the jokes in the film either make sense or actually work. A lot of the jokes, and I mean a lot of jokes, fall extremely flat. Most of the jokes in the early stages of this film come from those terrible talking head interviews. Pretty much every joke at this stage in the film falls very flat. I’m not exactly sure why that is either. Maybe it’s the pacing or timing of the jokes. A lot of long winded jokes, for example Sanaa (Hannah Simone) having her father be her biggest fan, doesn’t work. There’s just something about the jokes throughout. One or two jokes did give a chuckle, but there was nothing more than that.
About thirteen minutes into this film I had already had more than my fill of Killing Gunther. I did see this film to the end though, I was wanting to see Arnold Schwarzenegger. I did see Arnold, but it was for around twenty minutes. At least his performance wasn’t completely dreadful. But at the same time I can’t help but think there was something very lacking from his performance. Still, Arnie alone cannot help a film be any good and he most certainly hasn’t got time for that shit. The rest of the performers within this film do nothing to really add, there’s nothing that can be done right throughout this film.
Aside from the poor acting, there’s nothing of substance in this film. The plot is about as fun to sit through as it is to watch paint dry. Actually, it’s worse than that, it’s like sitting on a boat that’s slowly sinking into tar or honey or oil. Something terrible I don’t know. The only good part of this film is in fact Arnold, and he’s there for twenty minutes. So basically there is roughly twenty minutes of passable film. The lack of content overall is disturbing considering it’s an hour and a half in length. Somehow the film fails to spread itself over this hour and a half, creating quite possibly the worst action film of 2017. The only saving grace is it tries something new, and fails.