5 out of 10
Release Date: 9th March 2015 (DVD Premiere)
Director: JK Amalou (Deviation)
Cast: Danny Dyer, Martin Kemp, Gary Kemp, Holly Weston, Anouska Mond, Lyneah Johnson with Eddie Webber and Robert Cavanah
Writer: JK Amalou
Trailer: ASSASSIN (2015)
Danny Dyer‘s new feature is a straight forward and, if you’re an undemanding kind of viewer who likes to unwind to this kind of by-the-number thriller, enjoyable little film. This is a way better than the normal crap Mr Dyer used to turn his hand to. It seems that the recent release of Blood Shot was a hangover from the old days and his ascent since Vendetta is set to continue.
Assassin‘s plot moves predictably. Danny Dyer (HUMAN TRAFFIC) plays an assassin called Jamie. He rides a cool motorbike and does most of his hits for local crime kingpins turned legit property developers the Arthurs (MARTIN KEMP and GARY KEMP – THE KRAYS). His cushty life-style comes off the rails when he falls in love with one of the people he is supposed to ‘off’. Instead he hides her in a ‘safe house’ but The Arthurs know what he’s up to because he’s a bit dopey and indiscreet (unlike real assassins). Why our hero had to fall for a mouthy, blonde, coke-fiend is a mystery but then love is blind.
It’s with pleasure that I get to report that this movie was a hell of a lot better than I was expecting. The last time Danny Dyer and the director JK Amalou teamed up was on the very, very, very shit Deviation, a serial killer flick which had zero thrills or spills and probably contained Mr Dyer’s funniest unintentional performance to date. Assassin contains competent performances all around and it’s very nice to see The Kemp Brothers on screen who effortlessly bring a touch of class to proceedings. There is also traces of talent behind the scenes as the cinematography and location hunter seem to have taken their briefs seriously. The writing is a degree better than youd expect in this kind of thing, yet it doesn’t soar the heights of Mr Dyer’s current benchmark Vendetta. That it doesn’t is down to the plot which is riddled with plot holes and unconvincing turns that make our Jamie the least convincing movie assassin in some time. A) He’s very conspicuous with his bike B) He’s very indiscreet in trying to hide his new girlfriend C) Everybody in the movies runs away to Brighton. In real life, I suspect all you have to do to find a missing person is go to the Prom. The killings are strangely bloodless but brutally quick – there’s no torture which is good. These scenes are well framed and choreographed.
It’s the action sequences that fall short – a scene at the safe house is bungled because of bad editing and weird direction. One henchman is trying to get in the front door for about 10 minutes then when he is finally shot in the back (accompanied by an unusual burst of Dyer-isms “Have that you, twat!” – totally out of character considering how taciturn he was up to that point) four times he still gets to run off only to be shot dead in the next scene set miles away? There’s not much chemistry between Danny Dyer and Holly Weston (SPLINTERED) so there’s no desperation in their flight or love. She’s just a coke head (simple and most boring).
The closing scenes are very good for this kind of movie. They are full of introspection and give the whole film some belated depth, so as at least we have a moment or two to engage with our dopey hero. Was it all worth it? He should have just shagged her, then killed her and kept his nice little earner with the Kemp Brothers (that sounds a bit like Mr Dyer’s advice in the notorious Zoo column doesn’t it?).
5 out of 10 – An distinctly average movie, yet this is the second best Danny Dyer movie in years (so take that as faint praise if you like.) Predictable, well-acted, badly plotted, slightly classier low-budget actioner than the average.
Review by Matt ‘The Shusher’ Usher below
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Danny Dyer: Eastenders (TV), Blood Shot, The Hooligan Factory, Vendetta, Run For Your Wife, Lemon La Vida Loca (TV), Plebs (TV), Deviation, Freerunner, The Age Of Heroes, 7Lives, Basement, Pimp, Malice In Wonderland, Just For The Record, Dead Man Running, Dead Cert, The Devil’s Playground, The Last Seven, Jack Said, City Rats, Doghouse, Adulthood, Straightheads, Outlaw (2007), Severance, The Other Half, Borstal Boy, The Business, The Football Factory, Wasp (short), Mean Machine, High Heels and Low Lifes, Goodbye Charlie Bright, Greenfingers, The Trench, Human Traffic
- Martin Kemp: Age of Kill, Top Dog (dir), Strippers Vs Werewolves, Stalker (2011)(dir), Jack Falls, Back In Business, Eastenders (TV), Paper Marriage, Daydream Believer, Wax Works 2, The Krays
- Gary Kemp: Molly Moon, Killing Zoe, The Bodyguard, The Krays, Hide and Seek (1972)
- Holly Weston: Awaiting Further Instructions, Howl (2015), Splintered, Hollyoaks (TV)
- Anouska Mond: We Still Steal The Old Way, Age of Kill, United We Fall, We Still Kill The Old Way, Evil Never Dies, Ill Manors, In Your Dreams
- Eddie Webber: London Heist, Essex Vendetta, Hooligans At War (narrator), Devil’s Tower, Svengali, Fall Of The Essex Boys, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, The Firm (2009), Shifty, Cass, Freebird, The Business
- Robert Cavanah: Take Down, The London Firm, Fall of the Essex Boys, Pimp, The Royal (TV), Doctors (TV), Eastenders (TV)