Armand ďBlackbirdĒ Degas (Mickey Rourke) is a mafia hitman who shoots to
kill and never leaves witnessesÖuntil now. Faced with identification
from Carmen and Wayne Coulsen after a botched extortion attempt he teams
up with a young sociopath Ritchie Nix to tie up loose ends.
Unfortunately his next targets are put into witness protection and used
as bait by the police to lure Blackbird out.
on the novel Killshot by Elmore Leonard (who brought us the source of
films such as Jackie Brown and Mr. Majestyk) this is a taut thriller
which focuses on Armand Degas and his ultimate downfall. Mickey Rourke
is a very subdued half breed Indian who has made a living as a
professional assassin for the mob.
We meet him as he kills a mafia boss to allow the victimís stepson to
usurp the family business; however a girlfriend of the new boss is also
murdered due to Armandís paranoia to leave no one alive who sees his
must now stay on the run from the vengeful new mob boss. We have a
flashback sequence that explains Armandís compulsion to leave nobody
alive where he accidently kills his younger brother even when it seems
much wiser to just flee the scene. He is carjacked by a young criminal
Ritchie Nix but the two quickly become partners in crime as Armand is
reminded of his dead brother by Nix, who likewise is in awe of
Blackbirdís past. They try to extort a real estate business which fails
largely due to Ritchieís incompetence, employees Carmen and Wayne
Coulsen see Armandís face which becomes the main plot of the movie.
Armand must follow his compulsion to kill all witnesses. The police
soon identify the danger Carmen and Wayne are in and place them in
witness protection. Armand tracks them down to gun them in cold blood,
first he shoots his partner Ritchie who disappoints him in not being the
person he thought he was, but is shot dead by Carmen moments before he
was to finish off Wayne.
Mickey Rourke is very good as an emotionally stunted, damaged individual
who kills with no feeling, his cold murder of an Indian friend is truly
He shows some warmth to a brief Rosario Dawson role who plays an Elvis
obsessed girlfriend of Ritchie.
is later killed by Ritchie who seems to be following Armandís motto.
Ritchie Nix is an interesting character played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt,
a manic psychopathic loser who seems to become even sicker and more
twisted under Armandís influence. The witnesses are less interesting,
Diane Lane as Carmen brings little sympathy to her character while
Thomas Janeís Wayne would be better off to take up an offer by a hot
waitress then waste any more energy trying to salvage his failing
marriage. The mafia and cops seem underdeveloped caricatures and add
little to the story.
Picture quality is ok shot in 2:35:1 with a running time of 91 minutes.
Dolby Digital 5.1 is reasonable with the typical gunshots and clear
dialogue. Extras are non existent on this review disc.
thriller with a good performance by Mickey Rourke, some cold blooded
scenes and a reasonable story. There is something lacking though and it
never reaches any great heights. There are no characters that evoked
any real sympathy which hampers any emotional attachment to the film. I
enjoy Mickey (Angel Heart is one of my favorite movies) and I would
recommend this to his fans and those who enjoy Elmore Leonardís novels,
who might find something to like as well.