Liam Hemsworth stars in crime drama that loses its way once the lead character loses his memory

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Liam Hemsworth is a money launderer with amnesia in "Killerman," a scuzzed-out crime drama that drowns in its own sleaze.   

Hemsworth plays Moe Diamond, whose hustle is laid out in a slick sequence over the opening credits: he flips wads of cash into gold bricks and gold bricks into cashier's checks, moving in secret in plain sight, in scrappy-looking offices and convenience store stockrooms. It's dirty work, but some guy named Moe's gotta do it. 

All's well until Moe's pal Skunk (the always interesting Emory Cohen) decides he wants to do a drug deal with a stash of cash belonging to his gangster uncle, Perico (Zlatko Buric). Note to characters who are looking to keep their noses clean: don't chum around with dudes named Skunk.  

Things go bad — shocker — when Moe and Skunk find themselves in a set-up with some dirty cops. A car chase through an alley leads to a crash where Moe bonks his head and loses all memory of who he is. 

And that's the point when "Killerman" loses its mojo. Up until then, writer-director Malik Bader crafts a trashy homage to '70s and '80s gangster flicks, with a washed-out look to match its gritty aesthetic. 

But Moe's bout with amnesia slows the film's pace and direction, and Bader ratchets up the violence to try and even the score. Bits with killer dogs, a machete and a late-inning plot revelation do little to recoup what was lost, and what could have been a tight crime thriller drags to the nearly two-hour mark. 

Hemsworth holds his own and Cohen — absorbing in films ranging from "Brooklyn" to "Lords of Chaos" — is 100-percent believable as a guy named Skunk. But "Killerman" leaves viewers with no one to root for and no reason to care. 

'Killerman'

GRADE: C-

Rated R: for violence, pervasive language, drug material and some sexuality

Running time: 112 minutes

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama 

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