August 20, 2023

KILL SHOT: Clothing-Optional Conflict

KILL SHOT (Blu-ray)
2023 / 94 min
Review by Tiger the Terrible😾

The interminable opening prologue features a little girl shuffling through snowy Afghan mountains with a suitcase of drug money, which is later intercepted by a crew of heavily armed bad guys led by Dina (Mara Ohara). Most of it is presented in lengthy long-distance shots from different altitudes, and since it has almost no bearing on the actual story, one might assume director Ari Novak got a new drone from Santa and wanted to show it off. 

He co-wrote Kill Shot with beefy star Rib Hillis, which includes a WTF scene where he suddenly goes down on co-star Rachel Cook in the middle of the woods, with no foreshadowing that he's even attracted to her. Sure, it turns out to be all in his head, but definitely evidence that parading Ms. Cook around in various stages of undress was given just as much priority as the story itself, no matter how laughably gratuitous.

Speaking of the story, Kill Shot is essentially a rip-off of Cliffhanger, minus the budget and talent. The logic-free narrative has the antagonists agreeing to rendezvous in Montana. Since they already have their cash, why they actually need to rendezvous is never explained, but the plane carrying the briefcase crashes in the mountains. Meanwhile, our surly hero with a bad marriage and the usual dark past, Jackson Hardison (Hillis), is a hunting guide who agrees to take Kate (Cook) into the woods to shoot an elk in honor of her dead father. 

"Gimme back my shirt."
Of course, they find the suitcase first. So of course, they’re now being hunted. And of course, Jackson turns out to be an ex-Navy Seal with skills perfectly suited for the situation. And of course, the 'highly skilled' killers chasing them have the marksmanship of Imperial Stormtroopers. But it takes forever to even get to that point. The entire first act bores us with drab details about Jackson’s miserable life, followed by his and Kate’s endless trek into the mountains. As if that wasn’t padding things out enough, even after we’re shown the dead rendezvous pilot hanging from a tree, Novak includes a pointlessly protracted shot of Jackson approaching the body, accompanied by an overbearing score, as if walking up to a dead guy is inherently suspenseful. In fact, Kill Shot is loaded with scenes that are twice as long as they need to be.

Elsewhere, idiocy reigns, as does howlingly bad dialogue, lethargic action, drab performances and a main antagonist dolled up like a leather-clad dominatrix…even in the snow. Then there’s the out-of-the-blue twist ending, clumsily tacked-on for shock value. When done right, a twist ending can make even a mundane movie somewhat memorable. But not-only does this one come without a single hint of foreshadowing, it requires one character to display a neck-snapping change in personality and behavior. 

If viewed as an unintentional comedy, Kill Shot might be good for a few shits & giggles, particularly the superfluous (and plentiful) scenes of Cook running around in her underwear. The film also includes a post-credit scene, suggesting Novak is under the misguided impression that his movie is good enough to justify a sequel. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that green light, buddy.

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