The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot is not worthy of its epic title, let’s just get that out of the way. It may star Great American Hero Sam Elliott and yes, a version of him does fight both the titular characters, but those incidents comprise such a small part of the movie it’s kind of a joke its name even references them to begin with.
Aside from (very briefly) killing Hitler and then The Bigfoot, Elliott’s Calvin (played in flashback by a strangely muted Aidan Turner) is a secretly bad ass older guy who just wants to be left alone, but who can do away with wannabe robbers when the time calls for it. He’s aware of ageing, he feels old, he throws his pills away ’cause he’s tired of livin’ or…something.
Calvin goes about his daily life quietly, visiting his barber brother (played by the legendary Larry Miller) and chatting with a young clerk in a local store (a cameo from Boyhood‘s Ellar Coltrane) until he’s approached by the FBI to hunt and kill Bigfoot. Not helping matters is Ron Livingston’s slimy operative (there’s just no trusting him since he dumped Carrie by Post-It note), who seems like he’s about to turn heel at any moment.
Soon, Calvin is whisked off to Canada to tussle with the great beast which, in the movie’s only clever twist, carries a threat of plague. The funniest moment in the whole thing comes with Calvin’s pronouncement that it “doesn’t have big feet.” Bigfoot may be hard to kill, but Sam Elliott is even tougher, and more than a match for the mythical creature. So, no stakes.
Elliott is a mythic, legendary figure in his own right. The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot plays off his real-life character rather than giving Calvin anything resembling a personality. As played by Elliott, he’s marginally empathetic because, well, how could he not be? Sam Elliott made The Good Dinosaur somewhat watchable just by being a part of it.
Where The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot struggles is in every moment he’s not onscreen, particularly in Turner’s sequences, which include the offing of The Great Dictator, a moment that happens so quickly it might as well have been captured off-screen. Elsewhere, there’s a love story so lukewarm the two characters could be first cousins.
The film, the debut feature of writer-director Robert D. Krzykowski, is so dull and plodding it makes you wonder what the point of it even is. The blasted thing feels a hell of a lot longer than its 100 minute run-time, most of which is wasted on neither Hitler nor Bigfoot, and with a cast this high-caliber you can’t help but feel short-changed.
The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot is a misnomer, a title which suggests an adventure, a thrill-ride, something that is at least momentarily exciting and/or involving. The reality is a slow and badly-paced rumination on ageing that never gets off the ground, with a couple lame-ass kills of well-known characters thrown in for good measure. Sam Elliott deserves better. So do we.
WICKED RATING: 4/10
Director(s): Robert D. Krzykowski
Writer(s): Robert D. Krzykowski
Stars: Sam Elliott, Aidan Turner, Larry Miller, Ron Livingston
Release date: TBC
Studio/ Production Co: Epic Pictures
Length: 98 minutes
Sub-Genre: Creature feature, adventure