A hitman is getting into his senior years; a notable luxury for someone in his line of work. To feel more secure, he plans to pull off one last job before calling it quits. In order for this film to have an interesting plot something surely must go wrong, and it does. Now reunited with his son, who is aspiring to learn from dear ole (estranged) dad and elevate himself in the crime world, Charlie Valentine hopes to settles things in one way or another.
Gangster films either have too much Scorsese or too much Tarantino in them, and not enough originality. With a slew of typical scenarios, over-wrought tough guy dialogue and enough self-congratulatory bravado to make Joe Pesci blush, this film is hardly bringing anything fresh to the table.
On more than one occasion, a character proclaims that “this is not a movie” in an attempt to ground this film in some sort of gritty, ‘we know the truth’ manner of approaching a life of crime, and yet this film is over-abundant with sensationalist attributes like superfluous nudity and over-the-top (and often unconvincing) gore and violence. There couldn’t be a film with more reminders that it is a movie.
Aside from being guilty of hypocrisy, it also completely wastes cameos by credible character actors Tom Berenger and (personal favourite) Keith David. What little they have looks good because they are talented performers, but I feel obligated to re-use the word ‘superfluous’ in reference to their inclusions as their parts were not crucial to the film. Just another example of how weak writing and story-planning can really be wasteful.
Widescreen 2.60:1. The video quality is mostly acceptable, but certainly nothing hear worth writing home about. Things could be cleaner and crisper, but not to the point where it distracts (there are plenty of bullet holes appearing in faces to handle that).
Dolby Digital Surround and it is completely a waste. The dubbing of the dialogue is awful (often going out of sync). Does anyone remember the gags in Singin’ in the Rain were the sound levels changed as actors moved their heads to and away from the first ever microphones? Well, this film has that problem…but there is no punchline, its simply a terrible problem it has. Much of the dialogue becomes muffled for no reasons other than amateurish Sound Mixing and recording. On top of all this, the sound effects are lame and clearly canned. There is a slew of commercials and bad TV shows that share every single sound from this film…and its a dark day when particular SOUNDS become boring because of how familiar they are to an audience.
Subtitles in English and Spanish.
Commentary with Director/Writer Jess V. Johnson, Cinematographer Jonathan Hall and Line Producer Kelli Kaye: Rather bland reflections from these people. No major insights, not that this film warrants many. Just the odd comment here and there. Worth avoiding.
The Making of The Hitman Diaries: Charlie Valentine: A decently extensive look at those who helped make this film happen. As mildly skilled as they all may be, at least this is more than just talking head interviews with the cast talking about how great the film is, as per the standard “Behind the Scenes” featurette. Although I wished the Writer/Director spaired us the “personal” expression he feels he gets from making this film….it just seemed so phony and lame to relate ones self to such an obvious attempt to mold an iconically cool character.
Trailer Gallery: Nothing special here.
This could be an enjoyable ride, but in order to accept the stereotypes, the self-important dialogue and the meandering story, you’d have to switch off all sorts of parts of your brain to do so. A failed attempt at shooting for something bigger than itself. This film is miles and miles away from having the control and (earned) confidence of a Goodfellas.