7 out of 10
Release Date: 11th December 2014
Director: Mo Ali (Shank)
Cast: Lars Mikkelsen, McKell David, Adam Deacon, Ashley Walters, Darrell D’Silva, Sinead Michael, Zlatko Buric, Rocky Marshall, Richie Campbell, Oliver Stark, Duane Henry, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Clint Dyer, Ryan Oliva with Brad Moore and Michelle Fairley
Writer: Peter Lowe & Jeremy Sheldon
There’s a good level of fun to be had watching Montana. For a Britpic of this kind it’s way above average, on a more general scale it delivers the very least an action film can get away with if you’ve paid for a night out at the flicks. Montana was afforded a limited cinema run and it deserves it. Taking a huge amount of inspiration from Luc Besson‘s 90s action classic Leon it still has enough of it’s own ideas and style to stand on it’s own two feet.
Montana (MCKELL DAVID – #LEGACY) is an orphaned drug runner for a heavyweight east European ex-war criminal called Ratko (DARRELL D’SILVA – NORTHMEN). Montana is stitched up when one of Ratko’s footsoldier’s Pitt (ADAM DEACON – COMEDOWN) frames him for stealing some cash at a drugs drop. Ratko suspects that Montana has stolen it or is just plain careless and orders Pitt and the more forgiving Ryan (ASHLEY WALTERS – DEMONS NEVER DIE) to execute him. Little does Ratko know that a vengeful hitman called The Whispering Death (LARS MIKKELSEN – WHAT RICHARD DID) is also in town. The WD wants to kill Ratko in revenge for the killing of his family. WD rescues Montana from certain death and then sets about teaching how to become a deadly fighter through weapons training and martial arts.
Where Montana excels is in it’s casting. Lars Mikkelsen is a revelation as the taciturn yet deadly assassin intent on avenging his dead family. He is perfectly cast as a force to be reckoned with. He is given added depth by the prescense of a likeable foil in newcomer McKell David. David‘s storyline is a bit far fetched but the young actor convinces well enough and he’s a great contrast to the deathly serious Mikkelsen. The top heavy cast is filled out with about eleven bad guys who all meet grisly ends courtesy to our deadly duo who are intent to level the playing field. Laying waste to more British gangsters than all the Essex Boys films put together it’s an entertaining ride. The action is well-stage and filmed and at times Montana is danger of looking like a real film. There are lots of stock shots of the London skyline at night and this helps to cement the illusion that you could be watching a Michael Mann film. It lacks the pyrotechnics and sheen of it’s American cousins but director Mo Ali (SHANK) can walk away from Montana knowing that he’s done low-budget British cinema a good service by providing a solid 90minutes of good old action entertainent. He even manages to get a decent performance out of Adam Deacon – who plays a stock rent-a-mouth bad man. Elsewhere Ashley Walters hints at greater depths in a small role as Ratko’s more sensitive enforcer and newcomer Brad Moore (THE SEARCH FOR SIMON) (who also produces) impresses as a sleazy undercover detective. Only Michelle Fairley (GAME OF THRONES) is wasted as a senior police woman who only seems to be in the film to bulk out the impressive name cast.
7 out of 10 – A well-cast, well made, solid actioner with an interesting lead cast. Even though this is essentially ‘Leon-In-Da-Hood’ it’s still an enjoyable enough time passer that delivers on its promises. Recommended.
Look below for another review by Joe Pesci II
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Lars Mikkelsen: House of Cards (TV), What Richard Did, Flame & Citron, The Killing (TV)
- McKell David: iBoy, Time Will Tell, Urban Hymn, #Legacy, Holby City (TV)
- Adam Deacon: The Bromley Boys, Babylon (TV), Comedown, Outside Bet, Victim, Payback Season, AnuvaHood, Bonded By Blood, Shank, Jack Falls, Everywhere + Nowhere, 4-3-2-1, Adulthood, Kidulthood, Wilderness
- Ashley Walters: Take Down, Cuffs (TV), Top Boy (TV), All Stars, St. George’s Day, AnuvaHood, Demons Never Die, Sket, Speed Racer, Life and Lyrics, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, Goal, Stormchaser– Alex Rider, Bullet Boy
- Darrell D’Silva: Northmen – A Viking Saga
- Zlatko Buric: Pusher (2012), St. George’s Day, Pusher 3, Pusher 2, Pusher
- Rocky Marshall: Re-Kill, Holby City (TV), Family Affairs (TV)
- Richie Campbell: Tango One, The Intent, Gangsters Gamblers and Geezers, Anti-Social, Get Lucky, Fast Girls, Victim, Anuvahood, Wilderness
- Duane Henry: Comedown
- Kedar Williams-Stirling: Wolfblood (TV), Shank
- Clint Dyer: Mine
- Ryan Oliva: Top Dog, Vendetta, The Seasoning House
- Brad Moore: Tango One, Gloves Off, Golden Years, North V South, The Search For Simon
- Michelle Fairley: In The Heart of the Sea, The Invisible Woman, Suits (TV), 24 (TV), Ironclad 2, Philomena, A Game Of Thrones (TV)