Based on an Elmore Leonard novel, the story sets half-Indian contract killer Armand "Blackbird" Degas (Mickey Rourke) loose in Detroit, where he puts a bullet into the skull of Hal Holbrook, of all people. When he meets equally dangerous and trigger-happy career criminal Richie Nix (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in a bar, the two decide to team up to finish off an extortion job Richie has set into motion at a real estate agency. Pay me $20,000, he has told the broker, or I'll burn down your inventory.
Unfortunately, the meeting with the broker turns into a shotgun ballet, with real estate agent Carmen (Diane Lane) being protected by her gun-loving estranged husband Wayne (Thomas Jane). No one is killed, but Carmen sees Blackbird's face, and that means she will have to be killed, something Blackbird demonstrates time and time again that he has no problem doing. As the couple head into witness protection, Blackbird and Richie go on the lam, stopping off to shack up with Richie's girlfriend Donna (Rosario Dawson).
It turns out that witness protection ain't what it used to be, and the killers have little trouble tracking down Wayne and Carmen. The chase is on, and given the body count in the first half of the film, one has to assume that more corpses will litter the screen before everyone finally runs out of ammunition.
What's compelling here isn't the by-the-numbers story but the top-notch cast. In this pre-Wrestler appearance, Rourke is in good and menacing form. One wonders what he could have put up on the screen during all his lost years if only he had pulled himself together. The always reliable Grodon-Levitt is fun to watch; his nervousness is contagious. Lane and Jane create a believable fractured marital dynamic and find that the new identities they've been given by the FBI free them to reboot their marriage. Maybe they can forget all the things that have driven them apart.
Introducing Starbucks Killshot(TM), with extra foam.
Run time: 95 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 13th November 2008
Box Office Worldwide: $1.9M
Distributed by: The Weinstein Co.
Production compaines: The Weinstein Company, FilmColony, Lawrence Bender Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Fresh: 3 Rotten: 4
IMDB: 6.1 / 10
Director: John Madden
Producer: Lawrence Bender, Richard N. Gladstein
Screenwriter: Hossein Amini
Starring: Mickey Rourke as Armand 'The Blackbird' Degas, Diane Lane as Carmen Colson, Thomas Jane as Wayne Colson, Rosario Dawson as Donna, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Richie Nix, Brandon McGibbon as Blackbird's Kid Brother, Peter Kelly Gaudreault as Blackbird's Brother, Michelle Arvizu as Nurse, Richard Zeppieri as Son-in-Law / Mafia Boss, Alexis Butler as Girl in Hotel Room, Hal Holbrook as Papa, Robert Gow as Prospective Buyer #1, Catherine Hayos as Prospective Buyer #2, Craig Blair as Construction Site Foreman, Lynne Deragon as Mrs. Palino
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