“She’s barely touched my tiny penis, let alone used Iambic Pentameter to describe it!” – Fish, Killing Hasselhoff (2017).
You would not believe how surprisingly good this film is. Trust me, I know the mass opinion is that it’s dreadful, but just stick with me and I’ll explain why it’s so good. There’s just something so funny about this film that I just don’t know how to explain it. I must explain why I was excited for this though. My sole reason for even considering watching this, aside from getting it for Christmas, was because Jim Jefferies is in it. Now, I’ve seen Me and My Mates vs. The Zombie Apocalypse (2015) and I’ll admit, that was shit. It’s like watching paint dry without using paint. That’s not the point though, after noticing that Jefferies was in this, I checked the rest of the cast.
Comedy is subjective. That’s the key thing to remember here. Personally I like black humour, dark comedy and offensive stuff. To me, people like Frankie Boyle are extremely funny, but he’s tame compared to the comedy I like. Now I know this puts me in a very awkward position, it probably explains why I’m not keen on 80s comedy. Either way, this film plays right into what I like about comedies. It’s an offensive comedy performed by talented and offensive people.
Funnily enough, I would consider this a minor ensemble cast. Hasselhoff obviously plays himself. He’s cast alongside Jon Lovitz, who plays The Hoff’s manager. Ken Jeong stars, with the aforementioned Jefferies and Rhys Darby (The Boat That Rocked, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) also in the supporting cast. Justin Bieber has a cameo, Colton Dunn (Lazer Team) appears as a gay hitman and the immensely talented Dan Bakkedahl (Legit, Trumbo) also appears.
To say I was excited is an understatement. Then I put the disc into my Xbox, and my God, what a shit show it truly was. Well, the first act anyway, it was some of the most boring shit I have ever sat through. Still, I decided to keep on going, I was hoping at least something minorly funny would happen. I was right, something did happen. The film was actually pulling out all the punches it could. Basically you need to sit through the shit to get to the good shit.
Now I do have to question a few choices throughout this film. Why, for instance, is Jim Jefferies doing an American accent? I get it, people hate Australians, fair play. But if that’s the case, why is Rhys Darby doing an Australian accent? Maybe it’s because he is in fact from New Zealand, and that is close enough. Either way, they’re both hilarious. Darby’s mental breakdown and subsequent scenes are fantastic and possibly the funniest bit of the film. Jim Jefferies is also superb with a lot of funny scenes, specifically running around Hasselhoff’s house with Ken Jeong.
Aside from the shortcomings of the trio, the chemistry between Darby/Jefferies/Jeong was stellar and works very well throughout. Chemistry in a film like this is extremely important. I think that’s why the whole dynamic of this film works in the first place. The chemistry between Hasselhoff and Lovitz is exceptionally well done, with Hasselhoff playing an arrogant, egotistical and over the top version of himself. Sorry, hang on, I’ve written my notes up wrong. Hasselhoff performs very well as himself. Fuck Hoff, I know what I mean. No, I didn’t steal that from the movie. Well, I did, that’s not the point.
If anything, the minor characters, along with their jokes, stole the spotlight. Rhys Darby imagining a buff man named “Sebastian” everywhere he goes is hilarious. Sadly, it was a lot funnier than the actual plot of the film. The actual attempts of killing Hasselhoff weren’t the funniest bits of the film by any stretch of the imagination. Actually, considering the title of the film, you’d expect him to try more than two ways of killing him. That’s not the problem though, I guess the problem is the extremely short runtime. Comedies are expectedly short on their runtime, but as the film picked up, I didn’t want it to stop. 80 minutes, 60 of those were worth it.
As a narrative base, Ken Jeong’s running commentary was not the way in which I would have shown the story off. It seems very low brow and honestly it does show. I get this is a small scale production, but how about just not having a running commentary. There’s a golden rule in film, “show, don’t tell”, and Killing Hasselhoff doesn’t really follow that rule. Honestly I was expecting something in the same vein as Killing Gunther (2017), another film where a washed up actor plays this indestructible supposed God. Either way I’m just thankful this film was nothing like Killing Gunther, because that was shit.
It’s very poorly put together I must admit. The editing overall seems very off and there are plot points literally thrown in without reason. Tommy appears in Chris’ house naked, not sure why, it sort of just happens. I can’t actually remember that being explained away either, so I’m just going to presume it wasn’t actually explained. Still, it did lead to the scene where Ken Jeong goes full on apeshit in his car. That, for me, was the turning point of the film. The bit where it got funny was right after Ken Jeong has a full on mental breakdown.
What I thought was quite interesting was how the quality of writing fluctuates throughout. Quite honestly there are some knock out lines in this film. The best one for me was “I’ve not lost my mind, I’ve just misplaced it”. Actual tears from my eyes, and I’m not sure why. Because let’s be fair it is fairly standard writing. For me it was the delivery though. These are some of my favourite actors and comedians coming together to make a fairly okay script look like solid gold. They pull this off fairly well and at times it seems extremely great. Darby in particular, with lines like “It’s pretty much endless, well until page three.” Simple one liners like that were highlighted clearly, and therefore extremely enjoyable.
On the whole, Killing Hasselhoff is pretty damn fun for a low budget comedy. It’s something that will definitely slip under the radar, unless you’re a die hard fan of one or more of these actors then you’ll probably give this one a miss. Still, it’s nice to see Jon Lovitz is still getting work after The Ridiculous Six (2016). It’s even nicer to see David Hasselhoff is still getting any fucking work at all. All joking aside though, it’s a solid comedy if you can make it through a dreadful first act. It seems like they left all the best jokes until the final moments. A very bold gamble to take, and for me it absolutely paid off.
The amount of celebrity cameos or recognisable faces throughout is superb. Howie Mandel just sort of shows up at one point, along with a few other cast members from Baywatch (1989 – 2001) that I can’t remember the name of because they’re not Hasselhoff or Anderson. Either way, if you’re looking for a balls to the wall comedy that won’t tax your mind then this is certainly for you. Solid performances all round, but a couple annoyances here and there may throw you a curveball.