Monday, 6 September 2010

Ten Dead Men (2008)

Oh boy, where to start? this week I'm reviewing a movie made in my native UK. Ten Dead Men,  is a low budget gangster film that throws in some down and dirty martial arts action. Sounds good right? yeah, it does. Sadly the film, well, if you can call this a film, is one of the most dull and tedious films I've watched in a long time. The plot concerns Ryan (Brendan Carr), a former hit-man who goes on a one man rampage of revenge against the people who murdered his wife and left him for dead. Through out we learn of Ryan's life leading up to that day while being treated to him breaking people's bones like twigs.

Normally this type of movie would have me sitting back and having a great time but it fails so spectacularly in even making the characters remotely interesting and the plot dramatic that it ends up becoming a parody of itself. The script is diabolical and pretentious, the acting is so bad, anybody connected with it would be smart in deleting this from their CV and the direction is unambitious and pedestrian. The only saving grace and I mean, the only saving grace is the action scenes.

Yet even those were a test of my patience. Leading man Brendan Carr proves capable in the few fight scenes sprinkled throughout but the editing and camera work proves detrimental to the brutal fight choreography. Why is it so hard for some directors to shoot a martial arts fight sequence? They all claim to be influenced by the likes of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan but they just do an awful job of actually making a fight scene have good pacing, rhythm and impact that they end up insulting rather then honouring their idols. There are one or two fights which are pretty damn good but the rest are just slow and unexciting. Director Ross Boyask does a okay job but sadly he's got a long way to go before he can be held in high regard among fans with the likes of Isaac Florentine. Who knows? with a bigger budget and much, much, much better scripts he could become that.

Which now brings me to the part I've been dreading. The Cast. Wow, this has some of the worst acting I've seen in a movie, ever. You know your lead actor can't act when he has absolutely no dialogue and there's a constant narration through the film. I mean, sure, Carr stands there, looks mean, moves his arms slightly and walks about a bit but to call what he does in this film acting would be like going to Gordon Ramsey's house, saying his food tastes like fried cat vomit and defecating on his dining table, the worst insult to the profession you could possibly imagine. The narration tries to cover this up but it gets so out of hand that not one scene goes by that we don't hear it. If I want a constant narrative throughout the story I'll read a book or watch a documentary, not in a god damn ACTION MOVIE!

The rest of the cast are just as laughable. That grinning sod from Steps turns up, you know the one who has a face you want to slap ever time you see it. Fortunately we're spared from him actually doing anything when he gets strangled to death by our intrepid hero. The other characters are two incredibly camp gangsters who wave their guns about and stare longingly into each other's eyes and another is a sociopathic torturer who displays as much menace as a slightly annoyed bank manager. I'd go into the rest of the cast but it would just make me fly into a rage and rest of the review would just consist of various expletives and poo metaphors.

Ten Dead Men tries hard to both be a gritty gangland thriller and a bone crunching action film and while the fighting is sort of interesting to watch, it's really not enough to recommend a rental let alone buying it. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you might actually do that, might I recommend you spend the money on some smack instead as shooting that garbage in your veins would be less damaging to your health then watching this poor excuse for a film.

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