A HITMAN IN LONDON

2 out of 10

Release Date: 6th July 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Ara Paiaya (The Supressor / Maximum Impact (2008) / Death List)

Cast: Gary Daniels, Dominique Swain, Eric Roberts, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Alan Ford, Jerry Anderson, Max Cavenham, Ara Paiaya, Ron Smoorenburg, Angie Simms with Jeff Fahey and Mickey Rourke

Writer: Alan Davidson

Trailer: A HITMAN IN LONDON

A-Hitman-in-London-2015How the mighty have fallen. Almost without exception, each of the top billing ‘stars’ of this pitiful action film have put in more than one excellent performance elsewhere. We even have an  Oscar nominee present like Mickey Rourke (THE WRESTLER). Somehow, all these actors have aligned to put in some very bad work for martial arts film director Ara Paiaya.  Of all the dimmed stars only Jeff Fahey (IRON MAZE) seems to care about getting his lines right, although he remains seated throughout the entire film.

A Hitman In London could have been called A Kangaroo in Surrey or An Ewok in Halifax for all it has to do with the title. UK action-plank Gary Daniels (THE EXPENDABLES) stars as the titular hitman (called Bradley), who after bollocksing up a hit on Mickey Rourke retires to the same street which Paul Tanter and Jonathan Sothcott shoot all their dodgy movies.  He hides out opposite a whore house and eats Chinese food in the dim hope his former employers won’t find him. He’s that far off the grid you see.  After some Russian pimps steal his takeaway and duff up Dominique Swain (FACE/OFF) for a fourth time, Hitman Bradley decides enough is enough and kills everybody. This leads to his discovery by the whorehouse owners (DARYL HANNAH who tries hard and MICHAEL MADSEN who somehow manages to out-shit his last shit performance) who are connected to Hitman Bradley’s shadowy former employers – The Executive – ran by an on form but bored looking ERIC ROBERTS). Madsen and Hannah’s scenes seem to have been shot seperately (Richard Driscoll-style) possibly in America, because their paths never cross Hitman Bradley’s. It’s as if they’re scenes could be lifted out of this film and place wholesale into another cheap actioner – it could happen – really! Poor Dominique Swain‘s Ho has a sister who is working in another whore house called The School House which doubles as a Conservative Party Gentleman’s Club. So he goes on a rampage trail that leads him all the way to the top. A confusing, half finished back-plot is played like a conspiracy thriller with a Poundland budget, and nothing gets resolved. Michael Madsen and Jeff Fahey just drop out of the story line unexplained and a dead Mickey Rourke pops up to make threats about pissing in someone’s eye socket. Pity Alan Ford (THE SMOKE) who can do his role standing on his head, but he’s misdirected and fucks up a string of standard Alan Ford invented cliches, so even he can’t be relied on here.

So what of our hero Gary Daniels? He’s been around for years but this soft-spoken embarrasment to wooden objects has only graced UK cinema screens once in a reasonable role as secondary henchman to Eric Roberts in The Expendables. He’s not a great actor and his fight-work is badly choreographed and shot. He looks uncomfortable having to shoulder all the heavy lifting too, especially with so many formerly cool name actors in the same room as him. He actually makes the likes of Scott Adkins look like Laurence Olivier. Maybe he’s better in other films, but I’ve not seen any of them.

For fun look out for the director’s cameo (ARA PAIAYA) as a sped-up henchman, X,  in the ‘penultimate’ fight complete with helicopter blades and disappearing body parts! Also giggle at the henchman in the barn who gets hit on the head with a plastic bucket and then a plank of wood, whilst everyone else gets butchered or shot. Slim pickings, indeed, enjoyment wise you have to lower yourself to pisstaking.

There’s very little to recommend about this shoddy actioner. It’s forgettable, rushed, cheap and only worth a look to see some former greats take the money and run. A Hitman In London is the graveyard of vanities.

2 out of 10 – A Shit Film in London.

Second review below!

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Gary Daniels: Zero Tolerance, Tekken 2, Game of Death (2010), The Expendables, Tekken, Fist of the North Star, American Streetfighter, Blood Fist 4
  • Dominique Swain: Alpha Dog, Girl (1998), Lolita (1999), Face/Off
  • Eric Roberts: The Human Centipede 3, Suits (TV), Inherent Vice, Assault On Wall Street, Sharktopus, The Expendables, Heroes (TV), The Dark Knight, DOA – Dead or Alive, A Guide To Recognising Your Saints, National Security, Spun, The Prophecy 2, Most Wanted, The Cable Guy, Heaven’s Prisoners, Dr Who (TV), It’s My Party, The Specialist, Love Cheat & Steal, Best of the Best 2, Final Analysis, By The Sword, The Ambulance, Best of the Best, Blood Red, Runaway Train, The Coca Cola Kid, The Pope of Greenwich Village, King of the Gypsies
  • Michael Madsen: Dystopia (TV), 2047, The Hateful 8, Diamond HeistThe Big I AmHighway To Hell (2013), Strength & Honour, Not Another Not Another Movie, Scary Movie 4, The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe (voice), Sin City, Kill Bill, James Bond – Die Another Day, Species 1 & 2, Donnie Brasco, The Winner, Mulholland Falls, Free Willy 1 & 2, Wyatt Earp, Final Combination, The Getaway (1994), Fixing The Shadow, Reservoir Dogs, Thelma & Louise, The Doors
  • Daryl Hannah: 2047, Highway To Hell (2013), Silver City, Northfork, Kill Bill 1 & 2, Dancing At The Blue Iguana, My Favourite Martian, The Gingerbread Man, The Real Blonde, Grumpy Old Men 2, The Tie That Binds, The Little Rascals, Grumpy Old Men, Attack Of The 50ft Woman, Memoirs Of An Invisible Man, At Play In The Fields Of The Lord, Crazy People, Steel Magnolias, Crimes and Misdemeanours, High Spirits, Wall Street, Roxanne, Legal Eagles, Splash, Blade Runner, Hard Country
  • Alan Ford: Lilyhammer (TV), The Smoke, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, Cockneys Vs. ZombiesThe Sweeney,  Airborne (2012)Strippers Vs. WerewolvesJack FallsDead Man Running, Snatch, Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Exorcist: The Beginning, The Long Good Friday
  • Jerry Anderson: Fear No Evil, Bonded By Blood 2, Cryptic, Full English Breakfast
  • Ara Paiaya: The Supressor (dir), Maximum Impact (2008) (dir), Death List (dir)
  • Ron Smoorenburg: Never Back Down 3, Tekken 2, Vikingdom, Who Am I?
  • Jeff Fahey: Under The Dome (TV), Highway To Hell (2013), Machete, Planet Terror, Wyatt Earp, The Lawnmower Man, Iron Maze, White Hunter Black Heart, Blue Heat, Psycho 3, Silverado
  • Mickey Rourke: War Pigs, Sin City 2, Immortals, Passion Play, The Expendables, Iron Man 2, 13, The Informers, The Wrestler, Alex Rider – Stormbreaker, Domino, Sin City, Man On Fire, Once Upon a Time In Mexico, Spun, The Pledge, Get Carter (2000), Animal Factory, Buffalo 66, The Rainmaker, Another 9 1/2 Weeks, Double Team, Fall Time, White Sands, Harley Davidson and The Marlboro Man, Desperate Hours, Wild Orchid, Johnny Handsome, Homeboy, A Prayer For The Dying, Bar Fly, Angel Heart, 9 1/2 Weeks, Year of the Dragon, The Pope of Greenwich Village, Rumblefish, Diner, Body Heat, Heaven’s Gate, 1941
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One thought on “A HITMAN IN LONDON

  1. A HITMAN IN LONDON – review by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher

    A hitman isn’t just a killer: he is a warrior, man of peace, seeker of truth, righter of wrongs, balm for the oppressed, a last resort. But also a man trapped in the torment of his own actions, enchained by the evil that men do. A HITMAN IN LONDON may be a quite incredibly tedious, poorly executed bit of straight-to-DVD Z-movie nonsense, but it’s got loftily pretentious overtones.

    We open with our hitman, played by Gary Daniels (hitherto unknown to me despite a long list of films all of which I hope to avoid). He’ll never win any acting awards, but he looks variously glum and determined as necessary (though his ‘keeping-his-head-down-and-not-getting-involved’ acting is funny). In voice-over he explains his hitman creed: he’ll do anything but always asks ‘why?’ What the film-maker doesn’t explore is what happens if the answer isn’t very good. Indeed, our hero seems to be asking for existential guilt to be heaped upon him. What if the reason why was ‘because my neighbour won’t cut his hedge’? What would Gary do?

    He visits Mickey Rourke (who’s impersonating William Shatner) who doesn’t want to give Gary whatever it is he wants until Gary kills some rubbish bodyguards. But Gary has erred! You see, Mickey has a daughter with joyful news to impart! In case we’re stupid we even see her gazing blissfully at the scan of her unborn child (© Paul Tanter). In the film’s only attempt at generating mystery we leave this scene before finding out that Gary has accidentally murdered her (an explanatory flashback turns up about five minutes later). But Gary is a noble hitman, so, feeling bad, he quits his job (wimp – Simon Phillips wouldn’t let foetal corpses stand in his way), buys a hoodie, moves into what looks suspiciously like the set of Coronation Street and embarks on life as an easily daunted nobody with a silly hat.

    On a food-purchasing mission Gary stands sadly by as feckless scallywags mock and steal from a humble Chinese shopkeeper. He even walks by on the other side as evil foreign pimps (a) steal his dinner and (b) beat up foreign prostitutes. But Gary is a noble hitman, and, Popeye-like, he snaps, though it’s difficult to tell whether this was triggered by (a) or (b).

    Gary goes to the local pub-brothel and cheerlessly butchers the foreign pimp, his henchmen pimps and some casual brothel-browsers. Strangely, almost all these men look like Gary Daniels. This is very disorienting; maybe the extras were from a Gary Daniels Lookalike Fan Club? Also disorientating was finding out that chief prostitute/victim was played by Dominique Swain (I’d never seen her before). She probably does the best acting, as I thought she really was an eastern European actress who had difficulty speaking English. Anyway, the whorehouse cleansed, she sets off with Daniels in search of some well-earned bacon and eggs.

    But Gary’s nobility-senses are twitching. Swain came to Britain full of hopes and dreams, and with a little sister in tow. A little sister who has fallen into the clutches of evil perverts. Gary, being a noble hitman seeking redemption, sets out to do the right thing.

    Which is to kill lots more people who look like Gary Daniels. Along the way he confronts Alan Ford (on poor form – it’s like he thought he was rehearsing but the director thought ‘that’ll do’) before running into Eric Roberts. It appears that the foreign pimp and Alan Ford both worked for Roberts, head of The Executive, which seems to be a kind of terrorist CIA thing with a sideline in prostitution. Roberts is also Gary’s ex-boss. Awkward.

    So Gary kills everyone. The end. (The film ends that abruptly, without it being clear whether Gary saved the girl or not; but loads of bad guys are dead and that’s the main thing.) But then Mickey Rourke pops up again and the film concludes with him expressing an eccentric desire to use Mr Daniels as a toilet.

    Along the way we run into more American actors down on their luck. Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah turn up for a series of scenes (hermetically sealed from the rest of the film) where they comment, like a Greek chorus, on the action. This peters out after one of Madsen’s trademark pointless soliloquies and a blasé bit of violence. Meanwhile in the main film Gary runs into the great Jeff Fahey! Whereas Madsen has blustered, Hannah has spat out dialogue like bullets regardless of meaning and Roberts has done an oily Peter Coyote impersonation, Fahey looks like he’s in a proper film. It’s like Djimon Hounsou in NEVER BACK DOWN: someone oblivious of the surrounding tripe, going for an Oscar regardless.

    If you want something done properly do it yourself seems to be the motto of the producer, director, executive producer, story writer (though not scriptwriter), action and fight choreographer, director of photography, film editor and colorist Ara Paiaya. And he plays the mysterious role of X, a character so mysterious and shady he appears for less than a minute looking and acting like an extra, but that’s enough to get Mr Paraiya equal billing with Daniels, Rourke and the rest (which is fair enough, it’s very much his film). But Mr Paiaya has perhaps bitten off more than he can chew. Perhaps the best proof of this is that the abiding moment, the shot you will recall fondly when you think of this film, is when a burly balding henchman is bashed on the bonce by a bucket kicked by Gary. He staggers back, doing comedy dazed acting. Maybe it’s deliberate, but the laughter hurts.

    If this film exists for any reason, it’s certainly not the plot or the notion of exploring the almost religious mantras by which hitmen apparently lead their lives. Nor is it to explore London, seeing as most of the action takes place in either Coronation Street (therefore Lancashire) or Amsterdam. So why does it exist (apart from being a physical manifestation of Mr Paiaya’s ego)? Well, there are the action sequences I suppose. There’s quite a lot of martial arts fisticuffs on show, none of it particularly involving, but if you like that sort of disguised dancing then you’ll have seen much better elsewhere. Maybe Mr Paiaya seriously wanted to investigate the moral boundaries of those who have to regularly transgress them. Maybe he had a vision of a man alone, fighting demons even as he took money from other monsters. Maybe. But for me this will forever be the bucket on the head film, and it’s surely worth cherishing for that.

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