Ever since This is Spinal Tap, the mockumentary has been one of the great satirical cinematic devices. However, few films deal with the complicated world of assassins and the day-to-day happenings in the world of killers-for-hire. However, that is exactly what Killing Gunther does, and as a film, it achieves that goal pretty well.
Killing Gunther follows assassin Blake as he films a documentary chronicling his attempts to kill the legendary mythical assassin known only by the codename "Gunther". Blake assembles a crack team of fellow assassins to hunt down the most infamous killer of them all, all while the film crew records every fumbled, comical attempt at capturing Gunther, only for Gunther to eventually surprise everyone with his eventual appearance.
It should be noted, that while Killing Gunther is marketed as an Arnold Schwarzenegger film, it is certainly more focused on the group of assassins shouting and attempting to kill Gunther. Their exploits are very entertaining, and while there is plenty of action, it is far more comedic than it is action-packed. The assembled team of assassins is filled with comedic actors, with Hannah Simone especially shining as Sanaa (and her father providing some especially great moments). Taran Killam is great as Blake (you can tell this is a passion project for him), with fantastic supporting turns from Paul Brittain and Cobie Smulders. There are some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, as the group of assassins attempt to do what seems impossible. While Arnold Schwarzenegger may only appear in the final third of the film, he is fantastic here with plenty of lines referencing some of the highlights of a lengthy career, as well as some incredible self-reflexive moments, completely self-aware and doing plenty to subvert the stereotypical image the media has cultivated for Arnie.
Killing Gunther is a pleasant surprise of a film, with humour and action aplenty, as well as plenty of suspense and mystery. Director (and star) Taran Killam does very well, with what appears to be a very small budget (admittedly aided by the pseudo-documentary format), and with a willing an able cast who do plenty with the script available. Killing Gunther is more of a hidden gem than it first appears and certainly deserved much more fanfare than its UK release received. Well worth a look.