Mafia hitman Armand Degas, known as "Blackbird", is hired to assassinate a mafia leader, whom he calls "Papa". Afterwards, he meets Richie Nix at a bar, where they decide to team up. Meanwhile, Wayne and Carmen Colson are living separated, with Carmen living in the house. Wayne gets fired from his construction job and decides to try to get a job at the same place as Carmen. When Wayne shows up at the office of Carmen's boss wearing a suit he gets mistaken as the man Richie and Blackbird are shaking down. When Richie starts trashing the office and demanding the money at gunpoint Wayne tells them he has it out in the car. He leads them out to his truck pretending to get money and instead grabs a metal rod from the back of his truck and attacks them. After knocking the gun out of Richie's hand and knocking Blackbird down Wayne chases Richie back into the building. Richie pulls one of his boots off to get his other gun and shoots at Wayne a few times before Wayne throws the metal rod at him and tackles him, knocking him out the window and crashing into a gazebo. They flee, but the Colsons have seen Blackbird, a man that no one is supposed to see.
Blackbird and Richie pay a visit to Lionel Adam, a local man and fellow Indian tribesman of Blackbird (played by actor Aldred Montoya) who Blackbird had once seen with Wayne. They go duck hunting in the local marshes while Blackbird presses Lionel for Wayne's whereabouts before killing him. They stay the night at the house of Nix's girlfriend Donna. The next day they show up outside of the Colsons' house planning to kill them. Before they can move out of the woods Wayne takes off in his truck after fighting with Carmen. Richie takes off after Wayne leaving Blackbird to kill Carmen. Wayne stops at a convenience store to get some beer and gets shot at by Richie who is robbing the store at the same time. When Richie has to stop to reload Wayne runs out of the store and drives off in his truck. Richie finishes robbing the store and shoots the clerk before he leaves. Meanwhile, at the house, Carmen has seen Blackbird walking toward the door and so she grabs the shotgun Wayne left with her and goes outside to confront him. After talking with Blackbird a bit she shoots at a tree to scare him off before going back inside to call the cops. The next morning while they are talking to the cops an FBI agent shows up and tells them about Blackbird. Because of the situation with Blackbird and the mafia the Colsons are put in Witness Protection services.
Blackbird and Richie figure out the Colsons have gone to Missouri by tricking Carmen's mother into giving Richie their new phone number. Rather than go after them in Missouri Blackbird fakes his and Richie's death by digging up his little brother's body and burning it in a car so that the DNA test would show that the body was related to his brother in prison. With the FBI thinking Blackbird is dead the Colsons no longer need protection and are allowed to return home. Before Blackbird and Richie leave Donna's house to kill the Colsons, Richie shoots Donna out of jealousy because she and Blackbird were getting along too well. When Carmen returns ahead of Wayne she finds Richie and Blackbird waiting.
While Carmen is a hostage, Richie torments her; he sprays her with buck lure. Blackbird tells her she will feel better if she washes herself off. When she comes out of the bathroom in her underwear Richie puts a bullet in her mouth and she spits it on the floor. While they wait for Wayne to come home they sit at the dinner table while Blackbird eats. Richie makes too many off color remarks including one that references Donna as being dead and screwing Elvis in heaven and Blackbird loses patience with him. Blackbird shoots Richie dead and says he did it because "he wasn't who I thought he was."
Wayne comes home, and realizes that his wife is being held hostage. As he runs back to his truck Blackbird bursts out the front door and starts shooting at him. Wayne manages to take cover behind his car and get his shotgun. They exchange fire for a bit before Blackbird hits Wayne with one of his shots. As Blackbird moves in for the killshot, he pauses and turns around to see Carmen pointing Richie's gun at him. Blackbird thinks it is empty because he took the bullets out of it so he doesn't react to the threat, forgetting the one bullet she spit out of her mouth earlier. While Blackbird is distracted by Carmen, Wayne crawls to his shotgun and he and Carmen shoot Blackbird dead at the same time. Wayne and Carmen hug each other outside their house as a pool of blood forms under Blackbird.Thomas Jane as Wayne Colson
Diane Lane as Carmen Colson
Mickey Rourke as Armand "The Blackbird" Degas
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Richie Nix
Rosario Dawson as Donna
Hal Holbrook as Papa
Don McManus as Nelson Davies
Lois Smith as Lenore
Johnny Knoxville (deleted scenes)
The film adaptation of the 1989 novel Killshot by Elmore Leonard began development as early as May 1997 under Miramax Films, which had optioned Leonard's novel. By September 2004, the adaptation entered active development, with director John Madden expressing interest in helming. By January 2005, The Weinstein Company hired Madden to direct the film based on a script by Hossein Amini. The following August, actors Diane Lane, Thomas Jane, and Mickey Rourke were cast in the lead roles. In September, actors Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Johnny Knoxville were cast. Actress Sandra Bullock was originally considered for the role taken by Lane, while John Travolta, Viggo Mortensen, and Justin Timberlake were originally reported to have been up for the roles taken by Rourke, Jane, and Gordon-Levitt respectively. Principal photography began in October 2005 in Toronto. Filming also took place in Cape Girardeau along the Mississippi River. Production concluded by December 2005.
By July 2006, Killshot was being screened to test audiences who had previously enjoyed Traffic and Collateral. Test screenings showed that audiences found the plot too confusing and that the story was not tightened enough. As a result, scenes involving Cape Girardeau and a subplot involving Johnny Knoxville's role as a deputy were edited from the film.
Killshot was originally slated to be released on March 17, 2006. It then was delayed to October 20, 2006. It was reported on July 19, 2008 that Killshot would be going straight to DVD. In early September 2008, the film was resurrected for November 7, 2008 but then pushed back to January 23, 2009. The film was released on DVD on May 26, 2009.
The film received mixed reviews, posting a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.