Imagine if dating worked like Killers. You start with the meet cute, the spunky girl opening a door to reveal the hunky buff guy. They hit it off at dinner, and you’re into a whirlwind romance. It’s the montage, showing the couple in various locales, apparently having a great time amidst the sunsets and beaches.

Then they’re married.

No, seriously. It’s a span of two minutes, we’ve cut through all of the chemistry building, there’s a brief scene where Spencer (Ashton Kutcher) asks for permission, and it’s three years later. They’re settled into their home life, they both have steady jobs, the romance still seems high, and the audience is left wondering what exactly happened.

This after the film tries to establish comedic star Ashton Kutcher as an international spy, but beyond looking built like a brick, there’s not much else to go on. He seems awkward with a gun, more or less because of the casting, and entire character is impossible to believe.

Maybe it all makes sense though. As the film goes on, Spencer is thrust back into his spy lifestyle as assassins are called in to eliminate him. The plot is convoluted, mostly a mess, yet it does all come together. It seems spy training within this country has slipped considerably. Despite countless chances to wipe Spencer out, these hired guns continue to falter, obvious means of doing so or not.

Henry (Rob Riggle), supposedly a close friend of Spencer, is actually looking to score the $20 million bounty. So, Henry attends a surprise birthday party at Spencer’s home, sleeps there overnight, and tries for the kill in the morning, with an actual warning. This begs the question how badly Henry wants the money, or how ludicrously stupid this entire concept is in the first place. Spencer was sleeping upstairs all night. That’s a pretty blatant missed opportunity.

Between all of this mind-numbing scripting, there’s still a romantic comedy on display here, right down to Jen’s (Katherin Heigl) quirky friends who give her all of the advice. Killer does deserve some credit in the end, avoiding the cliché of the break-up, which oddly enough would have actually made sense here. She adjusts awfully quick to those assault rifles being fired her way. [xrr rating=1/5 label=Movie]

Lionsgate produces an adequate AVC encode for Killers that doesn’t quite reproduce that film-like look. You can count on one hand the number of scene where film grain shows through, well resolved as it may be. It looks more like a mixture of digital and film, the smooth, glowing faces on display certainly digital, while the rough, textured close-ups looking like a decent film stock.

Needless to say, the lack of texture is not severe, just wildly inconsistent. The transfer seems to struggle at a distance in terms of people, yet pours on the impressiveness when it comes to the photography. The opening credits, all set to a drive around a scenic mountain route, is spectacular. Ridges are visible on the rocks, the trees defined, and spectacular shots over water are wonderful.

The lack of texture may not even be that much of a bother. Sure, Heigl’s face may appear unnaturally smooth at 1:30:26, but the depth and color saturation seem to make it a moot point. Dimensionality is definitely here, a bright, well calibrated contrast delivering the goods. Black levels are rich, deep, and keep hold of fine shadow detail. There are few complaints here.

Overall sharpness is satisfying, with no tinkering to take note of to achieve this result. The encode is free of any ringing. With all of the sharpness on display, it’s a mystery why the facial detail/clothing texture is so lackluster. There are a few clues, Kutcher’s shirt at 23:27 causing some flicker and aliasing. This one seems to have trouble resolving every minute detail, although that does seem like a weak excuse. It’s lacking where it counts, but should be pleasing to most eyes with the lack of technical faults. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]

Lionsgate loves their 7.1 mixes, and it’s shame more studios don’t take note. While not the most aggressive DTS-HD mix on the planet, it is a fine way to make up for the somewhat bland style with concern to the visuals. Once the plot ramps up (the spy stuff, not the romance), gunfire is quite heavy in the surrounds. The two extra channels are used effectively to fill in the gaps, and with precision. There’s little doubt when a shot is fired from the left rear center as opposed to the left rear.

There are a number of little touches. Cars pass off screen accurately side to side, the end of the opening credits taking that one step further as Kutcher drives off left, then into the rears. A block party near the end of the film is lively too, the various rides and attractions, along with all of the laughter from the children placed throughout the soundfield.

Fidelity is of course perfect, as if there were any doubts. It becomes redundant to even mention it on a new release these days. Gunfire carries a clean high-end, and some silenced shots late in the film catch the subwoofer a little to add some punch. A car explosion is a bit flat, producing a solid rumble while missing that devastating kick you’ll get sometimes for such events. The material doesn’t call for it really though, suffice to remain as flat as the material it’s provided. If anything it seems to fit. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]

There’s nothing fancy going on here with the extras, beginning with a character recap called Killer Chemistry. A short gag reel is followed by three sections, deleted, extended, and alternate scenes, 12 in total including a brief alternate ending. D-Box support and LG Live integration is also included. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Audio]

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