TEN DEAD MEN

3 out of 10

Release Date: 27th January 2009 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Ross Boyask (Vengeance (2017) / Warrioress / Left For Dead)

Cast: Brendan Carr, Keith Eyles, John Rackham, Ben Shockley, John Campbell-Mac, Jason Lee Hyde, PL Hobden, Lee Latchford-Evans, Rob Freeman, Tommy Gerald, Earl Ling with Glenn Salvage, Cecily Fay, Silvio Simac and Pooja Shah also Jason Maza, Terry Stone and Doug Bradley (as The Narrator)

Writer: PL Hobden and Ross Boyask

Trailer: TEN DEAD MEN

TEN DEAD MEN FILM POSTER in My Photos by Terry Stone

Ten Dead Men is probably the scrappiest action thriller I’ve ever seen. You can see that the makers put a lot of effort into recreating their favourite ‘ten beers and a curry specials’. Sadly, imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery, it can be an embarrassment. But Ten Dead Men isn’t all bad. Let’s talk about the good bits once I’ve told you the plot, which can be summed up in two sentences.

SPOILERS AHOY! Former gang enforcer, Ryan (BRENDAN CARR – WARRIORESS) has left a life of crime behind him, but an old favour needs honouring and it gets his girlfriend (POOJA SHAH – CASH AND CURRY) killed. Ryan sets off on a mission of vengeance to kill the ten men responsible. Told you, two sentences and the second one was really short too.

The fighting and choreography is way above average and a lot better than I was expecting going into this movie. I’m told these sequences were actually directed by an uncredited fight director Jude Poyer, so what is main director Ross Boyask actually ‘good for’? Nothing but at least there is a  raison d’etre for seeing ‘his’ film in the first place. The makers contacted several athletes and martial artists and told them to fight, then they they threw in an extra £20 for them to say some lines. They clearly ran out of money for the leading man because he has NO lines. Well, maybe one, come to think of it. Then in post production someone put in a tenner to get Doug Bradley (HELLRAISER) to do one of the stupidest narrations in the history of cinema.  In that the plot is over simplistic, it still runs along at a fair old clip and is enlivened by two cameos from “name” actors – who in these guys’ company come across like Ralph Fiennes and Sir Laurence Olivier. Step forward Terry Stone (RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER) and Jason Maza (THE HOOLIGAN FACTORY) who show the rest of the cast what this acting game is all about. Terry Stone plays a barely onscreen Mr Big, who snarls and says “c*nt” a lot, and Jason Maza is a Mr Fix It from Belgium who brings in a death squad near the end to take out Ryan (hahaha, Ryan!)  Jason Maza gets his dick shot off but still manages to convince us that at least one of the cast has been to acting school, where as the majority of the slow deaths on offer in the film are hilarious. Check out Ben Shockley’s (VENDETTA) reaction to getting his ankle sliced! Also there is a wicked fight scene with a dominatrix (CECILIA FAY – WARRIORESS) which is worth sitting down for. Rent-a-hench, Silvio Simac from Transporter 3 and the Undisputed cycle is treated like cameo royalty with a showcase fight at the end. Where he turned up from storywise is a mystery. Maybe he was one of Jason Maza‘s crew, but I don’t know. We also get the wonderful Glenn Salvage (THE DEAD – AFRICA) for a dope fight scene too. Joe Pesci II loves this dude.

It’s probably the most action packed movie to be made in Brighton since Quadrophenia, and I have to say that the ‘one on one’ martial arts fights are great, choppily edited and the one reason to watch this little movie.  The script and acting are terrible throughout (Messrs Stone and Maza excepted) and the plot has no surprises. A lot of the dialogue (especially the narration) are unintentionally hilarious and completely moronic. Even the comedy hitmen, who bicker about the benefits of driving a Smart Car are completely out of wack with the rest of the film because they are unfunny.

Brendan Carr the leading man is a brooding lunk head who, actually can fight his way out of a paper bag but why is he collecting random body parts of his foes though? He carries them around in a cellophane bag like a big of sweets. Pity poor former ‘Steps‘ member too (LEE LATCHFORD EVANS – CASH AND CURRY) in another wordless cameo. Once famous for his voice, now he gets strangled with a seat belt. Poor bugger.

3 out of 10 – Ten Dead Men is not a complete loss, but it’s still pretty poor. Worth watching for some very good fight scenes and absolutely nothing else.

review BELOW by Joe Pesci II…. V

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “TEN DEAD MEN

  1. TEN DEAD MEN review by Joe Pesci II….

    This is one of those films where the bad guys have a seemingly inexhaustible supply of moderately tough bald dumb thugs to throw haplessly at our hero, who is himself a bald dumb thug, or rather, as ‘The Narrator’ points out (frequently) the best retired killer in the business.

    That’s all you need to know really.

    But I’ll tell you some more anyway, just in case. Our hero is Ryan, and his mission is to kill the ten men who killed his wife (who was of course pregnant). The film cleverly keeps counting wrong, starting (I think) with deaths seven and eight before flashing back to show us why Ryan’s going around killing people then revealing that even ‘The Narrator’ is lying to us and that really seven and eight were eight and nine because nine was really one and it’s all a lot more intellectual than you might have thought.

    The clever conceit of the film (apart from its deliberately obfuscated chronology, skilfully deployed to ensure that you neither know nor care where we are in the timeline, thus enabling the film-makers to make mistakes which no-one will then notice) is to render Ryan silent. I’m not sure if this is (a) an homage to other strong silent movie characters, or (b) a recognition that Brendan Carr can’t deliver (or possibly remember) lines. (He does have one climactic line which suggests (b) to be the case.) Unfortunately this means that Carr has to do a lot of acting with his face and body. Meanwhile ‘The Narrator’ (voiced by Doug Bradley sounding like he’s auditioning to be the next Mr Kipling) tells us what Ryan is thinking, and Carr tries to show us (sometimes we see Carr speaking but only hear Bradley paraphrasing – it’s very unsettling). The results remind me of the scenes in ED WOOD where Johnny Depp (in his only good performance) is telling Martin Landau what emotions to display. In ED WOOD the scenes were deliberately comical. In TEN DEAD MEN they’re even funnier.

    Meanwhile, Britpic God Terry Stone turns up to sneer and shout a bit, and Junior Britpic God Jason Maza turns up to… I’m not sure really. I think he’s some sort of fixer who’s brought along a seemingly inexhaustible supply of moderately tough bald dumb thugs to augment the ones Carr has done away with. But Maza is cruelly and foolishly wasted in a non-climactic fight where he gets damaged in his toilet area. And here’s someone from popular pop group Steps! He doesn’t speak either. Thankfully he doesn’t sing. And there are ‘special appearances’ by Silvio Simac, Glenn Salvage and Cecily Fay! (No idea who any of them are.) ( I’m probably not in the target audience for this film.) Simac turns up as some sort of caretaking martial artist who reads the newspaper upside down. And Fay is a dominatrix who has a bit of a fracas with Carr. I have no idea who Salvage is. But there’s a three way tie for the worst bit of acting. There’s Carr when someone has tried to shoot him in the back, and he turns round to reveal that he’s removed the bullet, his eyes lighting up and nostrils flaring. And there’s Jason Lee Hyde as one half of the light relief in this film, as some sort of Sweeney-era John Thaw. He has to do a menacing sneer eight minutes in when he shoots our hero dead (he somehow survives despite being wrapped in a bin liner and dumped at sea but then Ryan’s hard). All I can say is that Hyde gives it his all, as does candidate number three, whose name I’ve forgotten and I can’t be bothered to have another look at the DVD, but he’s the bald thug who gets stabbed in the leg.

    But enough of all this flim-flammery about acting! To talk of TEN DEAD MEN in terms of acting is like discussing the wallpaper in JURASSIC PARK. This is a film about action and hitting people and shooting people and gouging out eyes if you’re in need of a souvenir. And to be fair, the bashing-people-up element of the film is done with some vigour and competence. Over and over again.

    If you like watching a bunch of blokes endlessly hitting, stamping, stabbing, throttling, chopping, cutting, pummelling, gouging, ripping, shooting and generally being beastly to each other, then you may well find things to enjoy here. A popstar dead in a car, an eyeless Britpic legend dead in another car, someone or other chopped up into little bits and carted around in a wheelbarrow, it’s all here for your delight. My, that Ryan really is a killing machine. But, as ‘The Narrator’ points out, he gives it all up ‘for nice things’ and it is these nice things which paradoxically stifle him. Deep. So it’s a good job the bad guys come and drag him back really.

    To add some variety we have Keith Eyles as the main villain known only as the Project Manager. This is a bit of a euphemism, because he’s really a perverted sadist (as oppose to an unperverted sadist). We know this as he wears glasses and a tie, shoots pregnant women and takes photos of dead people. Alas, it is he who gives the film a splash of distinctiveness (though not much). And certainly Eyles is just villainous enough to put the gurrning lunk Ryan in something of a good light.

    The film looks like it was made for about twenty pounds, and they’ve made it stretch quite a way. Although the plot is hackneyed, the dialogue awful, and the acting makes DEAD IN FRANCE look like THE ENGLISH PATIENT, the film-makers played largely to their strengths and succeeded in producing a string of violent set-pieces, as if the film is an extended showreel for a fight director and editor. Now all they have to do is work on characters and situations and plots and we might be getting somewhere.

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