Based on a graphic novel by first-time writer/director Kevin Grevioux (from Underworld, who also co-stars in this movie), King of Killers follows former hitman Marcus Garan (stunt performer-turned-actor Alain Moussi, Nobody and the recent entries in the Kickboxer series), who is pulled back into the world of high-priced murder for hire after a tragic incident takes place just before he and his wife are about to celebrate their anniversary. As he’s searching for the people behind this incident, he receives a $10 million offer to kill the man considered the greatest assassin in the world, Jorg Drakos, who lives so deep in the shadows that no one knows what he looks like. Garan says no at first, but when his daughter (Zoe Worn) is diagnosed with a terminal heart condition, he becomes desperate for cash. But when he arrives to meet his client, he discovers a group of professional killers (most of whom he knows only by reputation), who all received the same offer, making it clear this assignment isn’t a job but a contest set up by Drakos himself (played by Frank Grillo).
So one by one, these assassins take on Drakos, until Garan decides that Drakos is using this contest as a means of eliminating the competition for future contracts. So he convinces the other players to work together. King of Killers is really just an excuse for director Grevioux to stage elaborate fight sequences with weapons of every shape, size and exotic nature. And those action scenes are sometimes quite fantastic, brutal and often the highlights of the movie. Among the other assassins are Shannon Kook as martial arts expert Ren Hiro; Marie Avgeropoulos as Asha Khanna, who likes her knives; the aggressively dick-ish Georges St-Pierre (who played Batrok in a couple of Marvel properties) as the brutish Andre LeCroix; Ryan Tarran as the bearded Rick Nigel; and filmmaker Grevioux as Dyson Chord, who has a deep voice and not many other skills that stand out.
The plot is threadbare; the acting varies depending on the performer—but most of it is pretty bad; and the closer the film gets to the ending, the more ridiculous the story becomes. The filmmaker even has the nerve to set up a sequel in which enemies become friends and friends become enemies (Stephen Dorff shows up for about 15 seconds as Garan’s mentor and friend, so you know he’s either going to die or turn out to be evil). King of Kings is very stupid movie that knows how to throw and take a punch. If that’s something that interests you, you’ll probably have a better time with this than I did. I will watch Grillo is just about anything, but this was an endurance test.
The film is now playing theatrically and is also available via VOD.
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