3.5 out of 10
Release Date: 8th April 2010 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Nic Auerbach (The Contract (2016))
Cast: Leo Gregory, Vincent Regan, Phil Davis, Beatrice Rosen, Robert Fucilla, Paul Kaye, Michael Harvey, Bronagh Gallagher, Terry Stone with Steven Berkoff and Michael Madsen
Writer: Jack Iandoli & Mick Cunningham
Trailer: THE BIG I AM
It’s the famously troubled Robert Fucilla production, The Big I Am‘s turn to come under the microscope. Now would we review it in the same light had we not read this article? I’d stumbled upon the article when looking for a review for The Big I Am, unusually, before I’d even seen it. Said article acts in the same way a friend of mine does who produces rap records. Before he’ll press play, he’ll come at you from every angle pre-empting every criticism and he’ll proceed to give you your opinion before you’ve even had a chance to form it. No matter how you view or listen to it, you’ve already heard the excuses that you have to take into account rather than just enjoy it as a song or a film. So like I aim to do in future, I’ll avoid reading articles in advance and I’ll tell my rapping friend to just shut up and press play. Background info may just be the killer of an informed and honest interview. Things have been published about this film that rarely come to light in the public arena and it plays out like a nightmare. One-time Hollywood Hot-Shot, Michael Madsen (FREE WILLY) is painted as a difficult lunatic and Phil Davis as a moaner. It’s so obvious on viewing, that Robert Fucilla (SHANK) added his Zelig like scenes to little effect to justify his production credit. As viewers do we need this info? It’s certainly difficult to switch off and watch this as a movie. Anyway, read the article to expand on the story. Or watch The Big I Am first.
Leo Gregory (THE HOOLIGAN FACTORY) plays a low level criminal, Mickey Skinner who owes a lot of money to another local crim, Milo, played by Matthew Harvey (ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN). Whilst on the run from a botched break in, he steals a car that happens to have big time crime lord, Barber (VINCENT REGAN – LOCKOUT) tied up in the boot. He has essentially ruined a coup by rival Stubbs (PHIL DAVIS – JUST FOR THE RECORD). Skinner and Barber forge a tenuous bond because the latter can see the former’s hunger. Barber pays Skinners debts if he’ll look after his affairs whilst he gets put in prison over a crucial 24 hour period. Robert Fucilla casts himself as Barber’s lead lieutenant, who is at Skinner’s disposal. Whilst, Barber is in jail, local club owner Martell (MICHEAL MADSEN) teams up with Barber’s treacherous femme fatale, Liza (BEATRICE ROSEN – 2012) to steal the contents of his safe. Skinner rises to the task of solving his own problems with Milo, keeping Stubbs at bay, seducing Barber’s girl and almost failing to rumble Martell’s plan. So far so convoluted. The running time is also padded out like I said with half a dozen dumb and pointless scenes for Fucilla’s own vanity. They’d stick out like a sore thumb anyway, even without knowing what we know.
The film shambles on competently enough, but it despite a bit of plot chicanery The Big I Am is just another gangster film. There’s no smart dialogue no sympathetic characters. We don’t really get a feel for Skinner to cheer him one when he begins to get used his “masters shoes”. It’s probably a career worst for Vincent Regan who just has to snarl the word “c*nt” a lot. Michael Madsen does his ‘aw-shucks’ shy routine, but it’s looking tired now. He’s definitely the worst thing about this movie. Although, Terry Stone (BONDED BY BLOOD) (who I suspect bailed Fucilla & co out when the film went over budget in exchange for a cameo) turns up as a Russian gangster. His accent is really bad. Hahaha. But at least it gave me something to engage with. Bad or good, I can always rely on Terry Stone to brighten my film watching day up. Career worse here too though, but I’m not sure I should count it, seeing as he might be doing his friends a favour. The rest of the cast are OK, even Fucilla. But its a far cry from memorable. It’s just dull in every way. Even another wall-paper curling cameo by Steven Berkoff (DEAD CERT) comes along too late.
3.5 out of 10 – Ordinary beyond words. Robert Fucilla‘s vanity project narrowly avoids being terrible because the story gives each actor a chance to shine a bit. These are very well worn streets though.
JOE PESCI II’s review below!
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?
- Leo Gregory: The Hooligan Factory, Top Dog, All Things To All Men, One In The Chamber, Payback Season, Wild Bill (2012), Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, Goal III, Stoned, Green Street
- Vincent Regan: The Last Photograph, City of Tiny Lights, The London Firm, Top Dog, Vendetta, St. George’s Day, Outside Bet, Snow White & The Huntsman, Lock Out, Ghost Rider 2, Bonded By Blood, The Holding, 300, Hard Men
- Phil Davis: We Are Tourists, Paradise UK, Golden Years, Dough, Mr Holmes, Age of Kill, In The Blood (2015), Borrowed Time, Fast Girls, Outside Bet, Brighton Rock (2011), Another Year, Dead Man Running, The Baby Juice Express, Cassandra’s Dream, Notes On a Scandal, Vera Drake, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Photographing Fairies, Crimetime, I.D. (director), Blue Ice, Alien 3, High Hopes, The Bounty, Quadrophenia
- Beatrice Rosen: 2012, The Dark Knight
- Robert Fucilla: The Contract (2016), The Magnificent Eleven, Shank, Pimp, Mercenaries
- Paul Kaye: Lilyhammer (TV), Blackwood, Dracula Untold, Game of Thrones (TV), Pusher (2012), Anuvahood, Malice In Wonderland, The Infidel, Cass, Blackball, It’s All Gone Pete Tong, Cody Banks 2
- Michael Harvey: All Things To All Men
- Bronagh Gallagher: Shooting For Socrates, Grabbers, Albert Nobbs, Malice In Wonderland, Faintheart, Last Chance Harvey, Botched, This Year’s Love, Pulp Fiction, The Committments
- Terry Stone: Away, Bonded By Blood 2, Plastic, Get Lucky, Outside Bet, Anuvahood, The Holding, Bonded By Blood, Shank, Ten Dead Men, Jack Said, Doghouse, Unarmed and Dangerous, Rise Of The Foot Soldier, Rollin’ With The Nines, Hell To Pay
- Steven Berkoff: London Heist, Rise of the Footsoldier 2, North v South, We Still Kill The Old Way, Red 2, GBH, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (US), 44 Inch Chest, The Tourist, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, Just For The Record, Dead Cert, Steal, Rancid Aluminium, Fair Game (1994), Decadence, The Krays, Beverly Hills Cop, McVicar, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange
- Michael Madsen: Dystopia (TV), 2047, The Hateful 8, A Hitman In London, Diamond Heist, Highway To Hell (2012), Strength and Honour, Not Another Not Another Movie, Sin City, Scary Movie 4, The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe (voice), Kill Bill, James Bond – Die Another Day, Species 2, Donnie Brasco, Species, The Winner, Mulholland Drive, Free Willy 1 & 2, Wyatt Earp, Final Combination, The Getaway (1994), Fixing The Shadow, Reservoir Dogs, Thelma & Louise, The Doors,