Reviewer: Mark Clegg

Writer and Director: Savvas D, Michael

“If we are all born to die, what’s the point in being born?”

If this quote from Hitmen makes you slap your forehead in disbelief, move on. However, if it either blows your mind (which it seems it’s supposed to) or make you laugh (which it almost certainly isn’t), then this film will probably deliver you a good time.

Lauren and Luke Loveday’s (Lois Brabin-Platt and Daniel Caltagirone) ten year marriage is on the rocks, with Lauren feeling that Luke has gone soft. However a chance encounter in a pub leads the couple to accidentally kill a young man in a fight, and the spark in their relationship returns. Unfortunately, the man was the grandson of powerful businessman Michael Hero (Eric Roberts) who places a million dollar bounty on Lauren and Luke’s head, attracting an eclectic set of assassins to claim that reward.

Writer / director Savvas D. Michael has built up a bit of a reputation for churning out prolifically producing low-budget British crime movies, usually with one or two in-decline stars, a stable of regular collaborators and a fair few actors with little to no experience. In the fast world of films being on-demand and streaming, his business model seems a smart one, and if you are looking for an action-comedy, and are not too demanding regarding quality, Hitmen is actually rather fun.

As the leading couple taking on the roles of normal-people-thrust-into-an-extraordinary-situation, Brabin-Platt and Caltagirone are charming enough, although casting actors (in these roles and others) with more comedic ability would have helped enormously. As it is, many of the sequences and lines that are clearly supposed to be funny fall flat. Instead a lot of comedy is found within the large supporting cast of assassins and low-lifes, often appearing in non sequitur scenes and accompanied by unnecessary narration. It is often difficult to tell if these scenes are deliberately amusing (some of them are definitely not), but nevertheless they deliver some big laughs. Overall Michael’s script is over-stuffed and confused while the plot is extremely basic. The dialogue is unnatural and often bizarre, and the delivery by most of the cast does nothing to improve it. And yet Hitmen remains hypnotically watchable.

The name star here is Eric Roberts and like many Hollywood actors who appear in these sort of low budget movies, his role is minimal. Seemingly filling in the void left after Bruce Willis retired, it looks as if Roberts gave the shoot maybe three days, and spends most of his short scenes sitting down. In fact one of the few times we see him standing up is on a golf course which suggests a quick take between holes.

Filmmaker Michael is clearly influenced by Guy Richie, Quentin Tarantino and the early films of Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths), and although there is plenty of violence and profanity here, he doesn’t have the budget or the writing talent to come anywhere close. However, as a director he does display some real ability, particularly in his use of light, and it seems with a stronger script and better cast, he could potentially deliver something worthwhile.

Hitmen can either be seen as awesome or awful – depending on your blood alcohol level and who you watch it with. You are doomed to be disappointed watching this sober, alone and expecting another Kill Bill or Snatch. However, as a late-night, post-pub watch with some mates, it’s damned near perfect. So this review is going to sit right in the middle of our five-star rating system. Feel free to round that up or down as you see fit.

Hitmen is released on 5th June 2023.

The Reviews Hub Score

Awful Fun

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The Reviews Hub Film Team is under the editorship of Maryam Philpott.

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