The idea here is to take a look at some movies you might not have noticed.  Where I define “you” however I please.

Killshot‘s pedigree is rather impressive.  The film was scripted by Oscar-nominee Hossein Amini (Best Adapted Screenplay, The Wings of the Dove) and based off an Elmore Leonard novel.  Many of Leonard’s books and stories have been adapted for the silver screen, including: 3:10 to Yuma, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, and Out of Sight.

But, OK, as much as I’d like to believe otherwise, writing isn’t everything.  Killshot was directed by Oscar-nominee John Madden, who, granted, has been responsible for a couple of duds since Shakespeare in Love.  But I don’t think he has been proven completely incompetent.

So maybe the film barely saw the light of day because of the actors?  Well, no.  Killshot stars Oscar-nominee Mickey Rourke as a Native American hitman.  He soon partners up with Joseph Gorden-Levitt (OK, he hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar, but that’s only because he is too awesome for the Academy to handle), a brash small-time crook with a big mouth.  After a botched scam, they go after the two witnesses, Oscar-nominee Diane Lane and Thomas Jane, who play a married couple, newly separated.  Oscar-nominee Hal Halbrook has a small role, as does Rosario Dawson.

To recap, that’s five Oscar nominees, a story whose author has generated multiple films which could best be described as “cool,” attractive women, and Mickey Rourke as a friggin’ hit man.

I had thought Killshot went straight to DVD, but both IMDb and Box Office Mojo claim it played on 5 screens for a few weekends in January of this year, taking in a cool $10,000.  So what went wrong?

Well, as I’ve described the film to a few people (and as I’ll keep doing until the analogy becomes true), Killshot is like a hookless pop song: it isn’t bad, but there’s no real reason for it to exist.  The solid production can’t make up for the extremely thin and uninteresting plot.  Honestly, with a few changes, it could be an unaired pilot for an 80s Stephen J. Cannell action-adventure TV show.  Which certainly isn’t bad, but not the tone for which the filmmakers were striving.  If, that is, they had a tone in mind at all.

There are very few twists and even fewer subplots, meaning the end result hits many of the cliches you’d imagine in a story about a hit man with a talkative apprentice hunting down an innocent couple.  There’s nothing particularly bad about the film (assuming you can get past the idea of Mickey Rourke having any difficulty whatsover tracking someone down and killing him or her).  There’s just nothing particularly outstanding.

It is unfortunate all this talent is wasted on such a forgettable film.  But at least no one has to be ashamed of the work.