Review: Killing Gunther (2017)

Killing Gunther (2017)

Directed by: Taran Killam | 93 minutes | action, comedy | Actors: Taran Killam, Dave ‘Squatch’ Ward, Bobby Moynihan, Hannah Simone, Marc-Anthony Massiah, Amitai Marmorstein, Peter Kelamis, Paul Brittain, Aubrey Sixto, Joel Labelle, Amir Talai, Aaron Yoo, Allison Tolman, Ryan Gaul, Cobie Smulders, Jake T. Roberts, Scott McNeil, Rebecca Olson, Alex Duncan, Arnold Schwarzenegger

A group of eccentric hitmen are on the hunt for Gunther, the world’s best hit man. However, their attempts to outwit the legendary master fail miserably again and again. The motley crew of professional killers will have to change their plan, as Gunther always seems to be one step ahead of the group.

The story set-up of ‘Killing Gunther’ is quite original. A documentary team is pressured to follow a motley crew of hitmen in their search for Gunther. The killers get a somewhat clumsy introduction, which is sprinkled with a nice humorous sauce. Each hit man has his own specialty (varying from bombs to poison), whims, special character traits and characteristic method of taking victims to the eternal hunting grounds.

Unfortunately, the in itself nice introduction is not continued in the rest of the film. The second part of ‘Killing Gunther’ is far from sensational and rarely rises above the level of a mediocre action comedy. The foresight and elusiveness of ‘phantom killer’ Gunther is initially fun, but becomes too much milked as the story develops. The momentum and humor gradually disappear as a result, while the plot loses more and more credibility and originality with the passing of time. The middle part is therefore a partly superfluous bridge between a smooth beginning and a nice end phase.

Although living action monument Arnold Schwarzenegger features prominently on the ‘Killing Gunther’ DVD cover, he doesn’t often appear. And that’s a shame – especially for Schwarzenegger adepts who count on an important role for their hero – because with its dryly humorous humor, charisma and proven reputation as a seasoned fighter, the Austrian oak is by far the best this print has to offer. But due to the limited screen time Schwarzenegger gets, the trump card of his presence is not played well enough. What remains in the end is a mediocre action comedy that only manages to stick at times.

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