Savvas D. Michael’s 2023 action-comedy Hitmen is an attempt to force humor into a gangster plot and hope that the audience finds the marital discontent between a bumbling couple hilarious. Unfortunately, it’s the opposite, and the lead characters, Luke (Daniel Caltagirone) and Lauren (Lois Brabin-Platt) Loveday, end up becoming an insufferable duo quite quickly. While Eric Roberts tries his best as the dangerous Michael Hero, a lot of other talent is simply wasted because of poor direction and a lack of clarity about what to do with the script. After adding a bunch of characters and with a massive runtime to fill, the director lets the story run amok, and soon enough, Hitmen becomes a jumbled mess. Here’s what happens in the flea market version of British gangster comedy that we’re used to seeing.
How Does Trouble Start In The Lovedays’ Lives?
In a café in England, married couple Luke and Lauren Loveday are at odds after 10 years of loving and cherishing each other in sickness and health. Luke feels unappreciated and disrespected by his wife, while his wife is sick of the fact that her husband has turned into a mousy and frail man because he moisturizes three times a day. If taking care of one’s skin as they approach middle age was grounds for questioning someone’s masculinity, most male models would’ve been out of a job by now. But Lauren’s displeasure over her ‘weak’ husband had pushed it over the line to warrant a divorce. The argument would’ve gone on for a long time had they not been interrupted by an uppity American brat who tried hitting on the gorgeous Lauren, and when she vitiated his manhood, he decided to expose himself to prove a point. Soon, the already flared tempers led to things turning physical, and in an attempt to prove he was still masculine, Luke ended up punching the kid to death, while Lauren used her heels to stomp out her frustration on the gatecrasher.
In a stroke of luck that certainly wouldn’t be their first, the Lovedays were exonerated on the grounds of self-defense and got away scot-free from what were easily manslaughter charges, but trouble hadn’t stopped chasing them. As it turns out, the young Yankee the couple used as their frustration dumpster was the grandson of a powerful and shady businessman named Michael Hero, and he demanded vengeance. Michael had an adopted son, Daniel, who served more as a bodyguard, while his son, Paris, was a cocaine addict. Realizing only he’d be able to find vengeance on his dearly departed grandson Jackie, Michael sent his right-hand man, The Major, to an Italian mob boss, Don Salvatore Piazza, and the don graced the businessmen by siccing his best hitman, The Reaper, on the couple.
How Were The Lovedays Saved Repeatedly?
As Luke buzzed around his wife, who wore a perpetually disinterested frown on her face, in a department store, The Reaper crept up on them. Moments before, we’d been given a first-hand glimpse into how violent and cruel this hitman was as he emptied an entire heavy machine gun into a gang of German bikers. However, when the time came to put two bullets in the Lovedays, this talented assassin slipped and fell because of the wet floor, and Lauren proceeded to execute him point blank with his own gun, as Luke pleaded with her against it like a wounded puppy. However, Lady Luck sided with the couple, and the police quickly let them go, although, in any other world, this would have landed them in prison. However, the cop did warn them that the guy was a professional assassin, which did scare the two.
Piazza, however, was insulted by how his lead hitman had been taken out by two nobodies. Thus, for the next 20 minutes or so, we’re introduced to a series of hitmen and women across the world who are all shades of crazy. From a converted warlord in Afghanistan to three daughters of a gangster, and from an AWOL marksman to a crazed arsonist who communicated only in primate-like noises, it was a colorful team of assassins, organized to kill two people. With a bounty of $1 million on the couple, even the most reclusive of killers turned up.
What’s Justin’s Story?
However, the guy who could’ve been a great addition to the team if not for the matters of the heart, Justin Villain, became the bane of the hitmen. Justin had been contacted by Valerie to take care of her psycho boyfriend, and the two tag-teamed in shooting holes in the man. This’d kickstart a relationship full of love and the death of the targets they’d eliminate together as the hit-couple, slowly rising through the ranks of executioners. But their love story would soon be cut short because Valerie was afflicted by a sudden illness that led to her sudden and untimely demise, leading Justin to contemplate suicide. With moments away from pulling the trigger and eating a bullet, a phone call about the bounty on the Lovedays let him live for another day. This time, though, he had a mission: to protect two lovers from the evil hitmen.
What Happens In Tony’s Bar?
While celebrating in their friend Tony’s bar, the Lovedays are attacked by two separate hitmen, and although the warlord kills Tony, the Lovedays escape. Whenever the focus is on Luke and Lauren, their forced chemistry almost makes me speed up the playback by 2x because of how annoying the two are. With their friend being murdered before their eyes and after learning that actual hitmen are after them, their cartoonish way of dealing with the situation sucks out any gravitas the moment could’ve offered. After debating for 2 minutes in hushed voices in their kitchen about the weapon they should use if professional hitmen show up, the two go into their bedroom and collapse in bed for hours. At night, a priest or hitman shows up to collect the bounty, but the Lovedays are saved by Justin. By this point, I felt like I’d pay good money to see the cacophonic Lauren die because of how insufferable she’s become.
Why are The Police Called?
The Lovedays drive to a motel, where the receptionist intentionally keeps them waiting as she unloads her series of tasteless jokes. It’s almost pleasing to learn that sometime later, John Salas, a violent hitman, shows up and puts a bullet in the receptionist for repeating the same routine; however, outside the motel room where the couple holed up, a different kind of Mexican standoff is set up as Salas and Justin face off against Paris, who showed up with a gun to prove to his father that he wasn’t completely useless. Paris shoots both Justin and Salas and puts them on the motel room floor, while a family of four spots the dead receptionist and calls the police.
Does Michael Hero Exact Revenge On Luke and Lauren Loveday?
While Justin distracts Paris with his words, Lauren once again picks up the guns and fires multiple rounds at Paris’ back while Luke pleads with her against it for the umpteenth time. Right at that moment, the police break in and find a woman with a gun in her hand, who shoots Lauren dead, as Salas whips out another pistol and puts two bullets in Luke’s back. In retaliation, the police blow Salas’ brains out, ending the bloodbath. Outside, as the police call in the paramedics, Michael arrives in a limousine and breaks down, watching his deceased son Paris being taken away. Michael had found vengeance in the deaths of the couple that killed his grandson, but in the process, he lost his son as well. In the background, Daniel, the narrator of the entire story, wonders whether vengeance is really worth the heavy price it demands.
The last few minutes of the movie could be mistaken for being a serious film that ends in a big bloodbath and heartbreak because it totally doesn’t go with the rest of Hitmen. From the start to the end, the movie feels like a bad rip-off of Guy Ritchie’s gangster comedies, and even so, the humor is just plain off. None of the jokes land, the lead characters are all over the place, and the plot isn’t sure about which direction to take. The story buzzes around from point to point, failing to establish any of the major plot points, and the presentation of apparently nightmarish hitmen is reduced to meat shields, only to be killed off moments after their introduction. Even if for a moment we’re to suspend all logic, the fact that two misfits are able to dodge death every time, even when fired at point blank, seems to stretch disbelief beyond the point of acceptance. Finally, Lois Brabin-Platt’s character, Lauren Loveday, ends up getting on the viewers’ nerves, and the moment she’s killed feels like the only gratuitous moment of this facepalm of a movie.