2 out of 10
Release Date: 7th April 2014 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Paul Tanter (Dystopia (TV) / The Disappearance of Lenka Wood / No Easy Days (TV) /The Disappearance of Lenka Wood / He Who Dares 2 / Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3 / Shame The Devil / The Hooligan Wars / Essex Boys Retribution / White Collar Hooligan 2 / Fall of the Essex Boys / Rise of the White Collar Hooligan / Jack Falls)
Cast: Tom Benedict Knight, Simon Phillips, Ewan Ross, Christina Bellavia, Kye Loren, Ben Loyd-Holmes, Lucy Drive, Daniel Caren, Rebecca Ferdinando, Grant Huggair, Rita Ramnani with Zara Phythian and Lorraine Stanley
Writer: James Crow and Paul Tanter
Trailer: HE WHO DARES
To be proofread: He Who Dares is evidence of an increasing trend to ape Bollywood by remaking big international hits at a local budget and with a modest cast. Paul Tanter‘s latest is a tepid blend of The Raid (whose sequel is out on cinemas the same week of release) and Die Hard. It slavishly follows the laws of plotting to the letter but it’s execution is sloppy. There are too many plot holes and continuity errors for it to engage and all the shine is on the villain of the piece, lead hostage taker, Holt (SIMON PHILLIPS – CUT) rendering the hero a complete non-entity. There is zero character development on show, which makes the whole film and exercise in protracted pointlessness. One scene alone demonstrates the importance of good acting and character in a hostage film and that’s close to the beginning – where a hostage called Marie (LORRAINE STANLEY – LONDON TO BRIGHTON) is cajoled into taking the baddies list of demands to the cops outside. All the good work is done by this one actress who is out of the story in no time. A big shame.
The Prime Minister’s daughter Alice (CHRISTINA BELLAVIA) is taken hostage by Holt and his endless army of bandanna wearing goons. The baddies hole up sixteen levels below the ground in a multi-storey car park. Right before they can lock the garage down a faceless gang of SAS soldiers sneak in, led by Lowe (TOM BENEDICT KNIGHT – WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN 2) and Stevens (BEN LOYD-HOLMES – THE HIKE). There’s only one way in and out and that’s been sealed behind them. A blood bath awaits. Will the SAS be able to rescue the Prime Minister’s daughter? Who Cares Wins? Actually, who cares, full stop.
As I said, no characters have been developed beyond Simon Phillips’ Alan Rickman/Hans Gruber wannabe wise cracking like a ginger Les Dawson. Tom Benedict-Knight is barely distinguishable from the 10 or so SAS men that stand in for our heroes. Even worse, the majority of the henchmen are dressed in a uniform (supposedly to save money on the number of extras that can play fight) so we can’t do an accurate body count or work out how many people are left alive. The minions seem to multiply as the film plods on. The majority of the hostages are killed early on in a massacre, they are solely represented by Lorraine Stanley. The kidnapped daughter is little more than a helpless brat whose one defence is spiking a baddies tea with a E. Where was that going to get them? Towards the middle an evil female agent called The Honey Trap (ZARA PHYTHIAN – UNDERGROUND) shows up to play an escaped hostage only to slay some of the dopier SAS men. A short-lived twist flops because like everything else, it’s badly handled. Poor Zara Phythian – cheer up Expendabelles is round the corner.
Stealth would have been order of the day in such a takedown but Holt and his goons seem to want bag some media attention so they seem to keen on stupidity over strategy. How come in films like this, the baddies seem good at setting up their evil dens, cold and professionally disposing of anyone in their paths, but when the good guys turn up they lose the ability to shoot straight or plan ahead? Do you care? SPOILERS: Plot holes ahoy – they involve the ability to fire guns with nobody hearing the shots in the next room, people knowing names that haven’t been shared, and knowledge of passwords, helicopters changing shapes, colours and models in seconds? Would the Prime Minister’s daughter really know her father’s top secret passwords? How would Holt know she would know? Why pick an escape route with only provisions for one escapee? Why is there only one police uniform? End of spoilers. Jerky camera work and lame effects like slowing down the footage or jump cuts that got old with Tony Scott’s Man On Fire in 2005 pervade every scene. It was just a disappointing waste of time. Not all derivative and predictable films are terrible but this was just slack and slap dash. Badly written, hardly acted, and barely written – it’s another Simon Phillips vehicle that over-relies on his mediocre levels of talent. He’s about as menacing as Donald Duck and should stick to playing dorks (at least he convinces in those roles). Dull and mercifully short.
2 out of 10 – Paul Tanter and Simon Phillips are quickly becoming industry short hand for the cheap and careless quickie. Not the worst film they’ve managed and at least its not another Essex Boys movie. Their next one looks intriguing as it’s set in space, The Last Scout. Until then…
Editor’s note: There’s a sequel filming at the moment called He Who Dares 2: The Downing Street Siege? To quote the Pet Shop Boys – What Have I Done To Deserve This?
*MATT USHER’S REVIEW BELOW
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Tom Benedict-Knight: Breaking Down, Brash Young Turks, Underbelly, The Call Up, The Disappearance of Lenka Wood, He Who Dares 2, White Collar Hooligan 2
- Simon Phillips: Dystopia (TV), The Last Scout, No Easy Days (TV), The Disappearance of Lenka Wood, He Who Dares 2, Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3, Shame The Devil, Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan, The Hooligan Wars, Essex Boys Retribution, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall of the Essex Boys, UFO (2013), The Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Airborne, The Reverend (2012), Ghosted, Offender, Bonded By Blood, How to Stop Being a Loser, Kill Keith, Jack Falls, The Last Seven, Jack Said, Just For The Record, Jack Says, Stagger, Risen, Jesus vs. Messiah, Cut
- Ewan Ross: The Hooligan Wars, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall of The Essex Boys, Unarmed and Dangerous
- Christina Bellavia: He Who Dares 2
- Kye Loren: Underbelly, Essex Boys Retribution
- Ben Loyd-Holmes: Carnivore, Knights of the Damned, Breaking Down, I Am Hooligan, Extinction – Jurassic Predators, The Hike
- Lucy Drive: Mob Handed, Full English Breakfast, Vendetta, Dead End (2013), Outside Bet
- Daniel Caren: Breaking Down, Extinction – Jurassic Predators, The Hike
- Rebecca Ferdinando: Gridiron UK, Art Ache, The Last Scout, Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3, Get Lucky, Outside Bet, The Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan
- Grant Huggair: The Estate
- Rita Ramnani: The Last Scout, A Dark Reflection, Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3, Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan, Abducted, White Collar Hooligan 2, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Airborne (2012), Rise and Fall Of a White Collar Hooligan, Jack Falls, Jack Said, Jack Says, How To Stop Being a Loser, Stagger, The Last Seven, Just For The Record, Umbrage- The First Vampire
- Zara Phythian: Knights of the Damned, Warrioress, The Hike, Underground (2008)
- Lorraine Stanley: No Reasons, A Hundred Streets, Suffragette, Legend (2015), The Guvnors, The Hooligan Factory, Top Dog, The Hooligan Wars, Essex Boys Retribution, GBH, Made In Dagenham, Cass, London To Brighton