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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Kill Me Three Times (Blu-ray)
Kill Me Three Times (Blu-ray)
Magnolia Home Entertainment // R // July 7, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted July 26, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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THE FILM:

Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution.

Australian comedy/thriller Kill Me Three Times tries very, very hard to be clever. Director Kriv Stenders twists and chops the relatively straightforward narrative to pieces, repeating scenes from different perspectives and revealing new details at each turn. When all is said and done, this filmmaking style feels like a gimmick, mostly because the story Kill Me Three Times tells is not all that interesting. Everything revolves around Alice Taylor (Alice Braga), a beautiful woman that several people are trying to kill, including deadpanning hitman Charlie Wolfe (Simon Pegg). The film's motley crew of characters, including a love-struck surfer (Luke Hemsworth, brother of Chris and Liam), murderous dental receptionist (Teresa Palmer), and a wife-beating bar owner (Callan Mulvey), sound more interesting than they are, and I never much cared about their fates. Pegg is funny, as always, but this material fails to challenge his comedic timing.

You know exactly what kind of character Pegg is playing from the opening scene, when Wolfe stops mid murder to take a phone call. That happens again, later, to diminishing returns. It often feels like the filmmakers inserted Pegg's wisecracking exclusively to liven up a dull movie. I'm sure that's not the case, but Wolfe feels like he got poached from a different, more interesting film. The "killing three times" comes from the vultures circling poor Alice. There's Wolfe, hired by Alice's abusive, asshole husband, Jack (Mulvey), who is mad that Alice has fallen for surfer Dylan (Hemsworth). There's also Jack's nasty sister, Lucy (Palmer), who goads husband Nathan (Sullivan Stapleton) into trying to murder Alice to settle a gambling debt. Mix in a life-insurance scheme, corrupt cop (Bryan Brown), and lots of intercutting, and you end up with the exhausting Kill Me Three Times.

Stenders and screenwriter James McFarland desperately want to emulate the Coen Brothers or Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, but they fall short of acceptable imitation. The problem is that each twisty segment is underdeveloped, particularly the scenes with the devilish dentist and his wife. Pegg ends up being a narrator or beacon of sorts, guiding viewers through the film. This is funny, sure, but it also diminishes any tension or drama involving the other characters. In those Coen and Tarantino movies that so obviously inspired Kill Me Three Times, there is palpable suspense and surprise, which is something in short supply here.

At least the location is beautiful. Shot in a remote seaside village in western Australia, Kill Me Three Times benefits from the serene vistas and azure water. It's obvious the filmmakers wanted to contrast natural beauty with ugly violence; a beautiful heroine with her ugly assailants. Pegg and Braga meet at the climax, and, by that point, the film has mostly turned into comedic noir. There is another rush of energy and humor here, but the ending is jokey. Nothing really resonates, and my takeaway is that Pegg's scenes are the most interesting - and most out of place - in this frazzled debacle.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 2.39:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is gorgeous: Sharp, clean, beautifully detailed, and deep. The landscapes are presented with perfectly saturated colors, and the high-contrast shots during outdoor scenes are not overly blown out. Black levels are deep, and I noticed no digital noise. Other than some minor aliasing, this is great transfer.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix impresses with excellent fidelity and range. Both ambient and action effects utilize the entire sound field, and are appropriately mixed with dialogue and the breezy score. A couple of more aggressive effects rattle the subwoofer to life. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This single-disc release is packed in a standard case, which is wrapped in an embossed, holofoil slipcover. Extras include Two Audio Commentaries: one from Kriv Stenders and cinematographer Geoffrey Simpson, the other from Stenders and producers Larry Malkin, Share Stallings and Tania Chambers. You also get The Making of Kill Me Three Times (18:16/HD); a Deleted Scene (4:53/HD); a Q&A (14:29/HD) with Pegg and the producers; some Storyboards (5:16/HD); and Behind the Scenes Photo and Poster galleries.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Somewhat amusing but ultimately sloppy, Kill Me Three Times does not rival the Coen/Tarantino films it emulates. Simon Pegg is an enjoyably acidic hitman, but his scenes feel out of place in this unnecessarily convoluted comedic thriller. Rent It.


Additional screenshots:

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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