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'Killing Gunther' is an amusing sendup of action flicks — and Arnold is a hoot

'Killing Gunther' is an amusing sendup of action flicks — and Arnold is a hoot
Hannah Simone and Taran Killam in the movie "Killing Gunther." (Ricardo Hubbs / Saban Films / Lions Gate)

Keep your expectations low and you could do far worse, comedy-wise, than "Killing Gunther," an amusing if dispensable mockumentary from former "Saturday Night Live" funnyman Taran Killam, who wrote, directed and stars.

Killam plays elite contract killer — and snappy dresser — Blake, who hires a camera crew (at gunpoint, no less) to document his mission to kill the world's most skilled, nefarious hit man, Gunther (a thoroughly game Arnold Schwarzenegger).

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In a sendup of those action-movie "gathering the team" sequences, Blake assembles a wacky band of specialty assassins (Bobby Moynihan, Hannah Simone, Aaron Yoo, Allison Tolman and others) plus a hapless tech geek (Paul Brittain), then sets out to find the elusive Gunther.

Naturally, everything that can go wrong does, with Blake’s cohorts getting brashly knocked off, one by one, by a disguised or otherwise hidden Gunther, who’s always one step ahead. Meanwhile, retired hit lady Lisa (Cobie Smulders, Mrs. Killam), the ex-girlfriend of both Blake and Gunther, will prove a key linchpin.

Save a bit of narrative padding (karaoke, anyone?), this is a mostly swift and lively ride as the tables turn — and turn again — in some absurdly clever ways.

Stay for the closing credits: You haven't lived till you've heard Ah-nuld sing the country-western ditty "My Earthquake Love."

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‘Killing Gunther’

Rating: R, for violence, language and some sexual material

Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Playing: Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood; also on VOD

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