An insanely violent C-movie thriller starring a guy in the headlines for divorcing Miley Cyrus?
A classic “late August movie,” that’s “Killerman.”
It’s about a money launderer (Liam Hemsworth) who rides around New York in a Lincoln Town Car, buying 25 pound (400 ounces at @$1500 per ounce, worth $600,000) gold bricks with a big sack of cash, reselling the gold, “laundering” the money into checks several times removed from drug cash.
He is…The Lincoln Launderer.
Hey, that’s a better title than “Killerman,” which when it’s explained in the movie, gave me the biggest laugh I’ve gotten out of a limited release thriller all year.
It’s a film with an intriguing plot, gripping bits of action, savage violence and good performances.
But man, that pacing. It comes to a dead stop for half an hour, drags out every third act stand-off, torture scene, and the finale. The producer who should have told writer-director Malik Bader to “Rename your movie, man” should have hired the director of “Ca$h Only” a better editor.
Moe Diamond (Hemsworth) has a partner. His nickname, “Skunk” (Emory Cohen) should tell you all you need to know about him. Skunk hooked up Moe with his Slavic mafia uncle (Zlatko Buric of “Teen Spirit,” outstanding), but he longs to make his own money.
Which is how Moe and Skunk get mixed up with the “Debo the Nigerian” (Coletrane Williams), punked by dirty cops (Nickola Shreli is feral and fierce as their leader) and in a car accident that takes away Moe’s memory.
He’s on the run — OK, on the WALK — from those dirty cops, is in trouble with Skunk’s uncle and has no idea who he is, or is supposed to be.
Drugs and a sack of cash don’t jar his memory. Well, he remembers he’s a lowlife and how to swear.
“I gotta see something other than money and drugs!”
Maybe a trip to the club will help, some sex, a little hang time with the old gang.
But we’ve seen Moe as a cool-headed mastermind. Now, he’s more violent, impulsive, desperate and enraged.
“I feel like I’m running…”
You ARE running, Skunk insists. Only he’s not. Because the pacing here won’t let him.
“Killerman” takes too long to set-in-motion. We see much of what we need to grasp in the opening credits, but Bader takes forever to get to the point where Moe loses his memory.
The picture stalls out for a solid half an hour before events, and a girlfriend (Diane Guerrero) Moe doesn’t remember, trigger the orgy of violence that points us toward the finish.
Bader plays the second-worst among the bad cops, and doesn’t trim the fat or the cruelty from a lengthy torture scene that he’s in. A lot of scenes carry on past their climax, even if the acting is memorably over-the-top.
The Croatian Buric (I remember him from the British thriller “Pusher”) is wild-haired and amped-up into spittle-slinging rage in many scenes.
“You DON’FIGHT DEARTY COPS! You BUY zem!”
Hemsworth holds his own in all this, giving us two distinct versions of Moe as the role requires, never hinting that this New York hustler is an actor from Australia. Cohen is a compelling sidekick presence, and the heavies here are HEAVY.
But damn, this movie staggers along. So many of its sins could be minimized by an unsentimental slashing of establishing shots and establishing scenes, a thinning out of that dead-zone in the middle and a vigorous pass at the nervy but too drawn-out finale.
Bader clutters the plot with peripheral characters who serve either no function at all, or a contrived one –the sniper (Richie Ng) who helps Moe and Skunk escape the drug bust, the “clean cop” who serves no function at all, played by actor who was Bruce Lee in “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” (Mike Moh), the club pick-up who sexes up Moe in a bathroom stall.
No, that doesn’t help his memory. And it does nothing for the movie, which lurches along, an 85 minute tale told in an agonizing hour and fifty-two.
MPAA Rating:R for violence, pervasive language, drug material and some sexuality
Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Diane Guerrero,Souleymane Sy Savane, Zlatko Buric, Mike Moh, Emory Cohen, Malik Bader
Credits: Written and directed by Malik Bader. A Blue Fox Entertainment release.
Running time: 1:52