It’s always good to see someone famous play out of character, or send themselves up. It lets you know they’re human after all, that they don’t take themselves too seriously.
Killing Gunther sees a group of hitmen decide to take out the best hitman in the game. He’s been at the top too long and they want him gone.
Blake, Taran Killam (12 Years A Slave, Saturday Night Live (TV)), is the leader of the group. He brings in a crack shot, Sanaa, Hannah Simone (New Girl (TV), Old Boy), a Russian couple: Mia, Allison Tolman (Fargo (TV), Krampus) and Barold, Ryan Gaul (Identity Thief, Mascots), explosive expert Donnie, Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live (TV), Me, Myself And I), poison expert Yong, Aaron Yoo (21, Disturbia), IT expert Gabe, Paul Brittain (Saturday Night Live (TV), Hotel Translvania) and a man with a bionic arm Izzaat, Amir Talai (Kung Fu Panda (TV), American Dad (TV)).
In order to prove that they have actually killed the best hitman in the game, who they only know as Gunther, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Blake hires a film crew to document everything.
Amitai Marmorstein (Wayward Pines (TV), The Driftless Area) is the unwilling man tasked with filming this unlikely group as they bundle their way through attempted hit after attempted hit on Gunther.
Each time he evades them, in fact, he seems to be one step ahead at all times. Despite getting close, Gunther whittles the group down as they continue their chase.
The documentary makes meanwhile, discover that Blake perhaps hasn’t been all that honest with his reasons for wanting to kill Gunther. As former girlfriend, Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Age Of Ultron, How I Met Your Mother (TV)), appears on the scene with a different tale.
Killing Gunter is written and directed by the leading man, Taran Killam, who is also married to Smulders in real life. The film is well shot, even though he spends most time in front of the camera.
At an hour and a half, it’s a good length. The action sequences are a little thin on the ground but filmed in the ‘run and gun’ documentary style they work well.
However, despite the heavy Saturday Night Live cast in the movie, the laughs aren’t as prominent as you might hope. Sure, there are moments, some genuinely funny moments, but there’s not enough of them and what’s in between isn’t good enough to keep the momentum.
The use of very obviously doctored photographs when we’re being taken through each person’s back story is funny, as is having Sanaa’s father, Rahmat, Peter Kelamis (Happy Gilmore, The Cabin In The Woods), being her number one fan.
But things like the ongoing Gabe the IT guy isn’t very good, just isn’t funny and gets tired very quickly.
Marmorstein, as the scared documentary maker, Moynihan, as the explosives guy, and Talai as the bionic armed assassin stand out performance wise. That is until Schwarzenegger arrives on the scene.
Don’t expect to see all the way through, he turns up towards the last half-hour, but he is very good and steals the movie. His larger than life personality is perfectly suited to the role and there are little nods and winks all over the place to previous movies.
Killing Gunther is a great idea and has its moments of fun. Unfortunately it comes up short of being either big on action or big on comedy, falling between the cracks of the two.