A vicious Kansas City slaughterhouse owner and his hick family are having a bloody "beef" with the Chicago crime syndicate over profits from their joint illegal operations. Top enforcer Nick Devlin is sent to straighten things out.
A remake of The Killers (1946) which itself was inspired by the Ernest Hemingway short story. Told instead from the hitmen's point of view, the killers decide to find out why their latest victim (a race car driver) "just stood there and took it" when they came to shoot him. They also figure on collecting more money. Ronald Reagan plays a rich, double-crossing financier. Lovely Angie Dickinson plays the femme fatale. Written by
Mark Logan <email@example.com>
I haven't seen Robert Siodmark's 1946 original, but since it's generally accepted to be better than this version; I sure want to see it! Second best, this may be, but that's certainly not to say that this isn't an excellent flick. Lee Marvin steps into the role of a hit-man brilliantly, and his no-nonsense performance really makes the film. He is joined by Clu Gulager as his fellow hit-man and partner into an investigation that comes about through Marvin as he wonders why he was paid so much to kill a former race car driver, who also didn't run away when he had the chance. What follows is a tour de force of gangster pulp fiction as the two hit men pay little visits to the various players in the plot behind the assassination they were contracted to commit. The style of the movie is delicious, and watching these two men stroll around coolly in their expensive suits while interrogating their various victims is a treat indeed. Several modern films, Pulp Fiction most obviously, have taken a lot of influence from this flick and it's always good to know where that influence came from.
The central pairing of Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager is what made the film for me. The way that they populate their scenes is excellent, with one of them doing the talking and the other fiddling around in the background. The way that this is orchestrated gives away a very understated coolness, which the film is always keen to capitalise on. The pair's chemistry is more to do with the style and how they look together than how they interact with each other; and that is right on cue. The Killers also benefits from an excellent support cast, which includes the likes of Ronald Reagan, Angie Dickinson and John Cassavetes. This film can't be considered noir because it's in colour, but this is about as close as you can get to the style without actually being a part of it. The film that it was based on was film noir, and this remake has managed to retain the foundations, even if it has lost the dark picture. On the whole, The Killers is an excellent picture and while what some people say about it being second to the original may be withstanding; I say this is an excellent flick in it's own right.
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