I'm not sure at what point we arrived to in film and/or television where David Hasselhoff was the latest entry in the rare land of famous people who are the center of films about them in fictional settings, but it's 2017 so anything can happen. And here we are, in a film where the former Baywatch star plays himself, similar to films (I think) that were done on Carrot Top and Pauly Shore. Strangely though, this film (called Killing Hasselhoff has a familiar face or two associated with it.
Written by Peter Hoare and directed by Darren Grant (Diary of a Mad Black Woman), Hasselhoff isn't the star and is more of the background, with Chris (Ken Jeong, The Hangover) being the focus. A club owner, he finds himself deep in debt and takes out some loans from dangerous people to cover them. But he has some free time and participates in a celebrity death pool with a buy-in. Guess who Chris' guess is? The stunt-taking Hoff continues to pull off his crazy antics and avoid death, but as the loan sharks tighten the noose around Chris' neck, he is desperate to do something to pay them off.
So you'd expect Jeong to kind of stand back and let whatever goofiness is inherent in the story wash over us all like a tidal wave, but he doesn't let it and it's to the film's credit. To be fair, Killing Hasselhoffis LOADED with cameos, be it former Baywatch co-star Gena Lee Nolin or Police Academy lynchpin Michael Winslow. But someone must have told producer Hoff to get some decent comic actors in the film to carry the story along and he does that. The people Chris owes money to are played by Will Sasso (Movie 43) and Dan Bakkedahl (Veep). Jim Jeffries (Legit) plays Chris' friend who wants to help him out of this mess. A lesser visible yet just as recognizable face in the film is Rhys Darby (Flight of the Conchords), who's in a handful of scenes and shows his ass, literally.
With all these people onscreen at various points, they get their chances to improvise and act goofy and it's worth sticking around for because it's made to work and most of it is funny. They get their points across in a particular scene and then get the opportunity to make them laugh. It's transparent in terms of production approach but a welcome one because everyone knows why they are there.
Also regrettably is Hasselhoff, who does a fair share of fan catering, perhaps more than he should, which tends to tamp down the film's merits. He does some singing and dancing because of course he does. He runs in slow motion to the Baywatch song to save someone drowning because of course he does. He drives the old Knight Rider care because of course he does. Plus he occupies a large part of the screen because he is that person that Chris has to kill. I get he produced the film and all but dude, you don't have to check off all the boxes, okay?
It's a minor shame really that the part in Killing Hasselhoff that doesn't warrant full-blown praise and gushing is the target of the film. But I get why he did what he did, even if it's to the detriment of a film that's funnier than you'd expect.The Disc:
1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen befits Killing Hasselhoff, and Universal does fine with this. The image is in good shape and contains a good amount of detail, notably (and kind of weirdly) with Hasselhoff's bare chest during a sword play sequence. The image doesn't have any smoothing or edge enhancement, colors are fine, though maybe a touch inconsistent in club sequences, but all in all was good viewing.The Sound:
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround for the film that contains some explosions, the third act gunfire is immersive through most speakers in the sound system, and when that Baywatch song gets played it sounds clean and spread effectively over the theater. Dialogue is well-balanced in the center of the theater and doesn't waver enough to require compensation. Technically the film got some nice production values that are reflected in this disc.Extras:
Six deleted scenes totaling just more than eight minutes in length, though none are of any real consequence to the film.Final Thoughts:
Killing Hasselhoff turns out to carry its story along nicely with a surprising ensemble who turns in solid performances and puts some effort into their characters. Once things get to the Hoff is where things meander and ultimately disappoint. The film is fine technically and if you are going to go full bore into this R-rated movie, put more on it than eight minutes of bland deleted scenes. But if you're looking to laugh, you'll find yourself surprised at how much you may laugh about a film surrounding the Hoff.