Kill the Irishman

tn_killtheirishmanFrom the director of PUNISHER #2 and the star of PUNISHER #3 comes a solid, entertaining period gangster movie. It’s a biopic of Danny Greene, an Irish American union president, gang enforcer and dodger of car bombs in Cleveland, Ohio circa early ’60s through late ’70s. If it had been done as two separate movies maybe it would’ve got an arthouse release and some critical respect, but they did it as one so it was barely released by Anchor Bay and nobody ever heard of it.

It’s not real original, but it’s fast-paced and entertaining. Jonathan Hensleigh (that’s who directed PUNISHER 2004) is definitely borrowing the cinematic language of GOODFELLAS. It’s got narration (but by Val Kilmer as a cop, not by the titular Irishman you’re supposed to kill), it covers a large group of characters through a long span of time in a series of short, quick scenes, and it has all kinds of mayhem casually delivered in montages with ironic tunes on the soundtrack to make it a little more brutal but also a little more digestible. It’s a whole bunch of scumbags but they’re charismatic, they’re tough, sometimes they’re funny, they trick you into enjoying watching them.

mp_killtheirishmanI’m in the exclusive club of people who really liked Hensleigh’s PUNISHER movie, and I’ve also been a believer in Ray Stevenson since I saw his PUNISHER movie, so I was excited for this one. Happy to say it speaks well for both. Some of the reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes describe Stevenson as “charm-free” or “as much charisma as a potato,” but I strongly disagree, I think his performance as a cold but intelligent lug is what makes the movie. Maybe those guys are just intimidated because for once it’s a man’s man playing a role like this. Instead of having to work out and toughen up to seem convincing they just had to give him bad hair. I think he’s actually bigger and more menacing than the actual guy – how often do you have that problem in a movie?

Anyway it’s a good character, not a good man but a funny one. He starts out well meaning. He’s a longshoreman and the union boss treats his guys like shit. His friend collapses on the job from exhaustion and all they’ll do is toss him in a trough of dirty ice water and tell everybody else to get back to work. When the same friend gets into trouble with some gambling debts Danny works out a deal with the mob that gets his friend out of debt and screws over the union at the same time. Next thing you know he’s muscling his way into the guy’s job.

But he’s crooked as hell and doesn’t seem to have any illusions about it. He just tries to cash in. This is the beginning of a long and winding career with various rackets. He gets busted, he becomes an informer, he still works as a mob enforcer, he starts trying to open up a restaurant. In the process he crosses alot of dangerous people, and they keep trying to shoot him or blow him up, which gets to be a pain in the ass.

At one point D’Onofrio observes “You must have the biggest nuts in Cleveland,” and this does seem to be true. He’s tough and he’s fearless. He likes to give people countdowns. When he decides it’s time for the previous union president to vacate he just waits in the guy’s office, tells him “I’ll give you three seconds to do it,” slaps him, and steals his gun. This is not a sissy he’s doing it to either, this is a bully who previously told him “I’ll come to your house and drink all your beer” (and then something about fucking his wife.)

He’s not afraid of anybody. When a huge biker party across the street is noise-polluting his barbecue he walks over, turns off their music and says “Party’s over. You got five minutes to clear out.” And then guns and fists get involved. But he’s not just a thug, he’s also well read and has alot of interests, including healthy eating. At that same barbecue he criticizes the menu: “No vegetables, no fruit, no nuts. Stuff’s got too much cholesterol.” (His buddies don’t know what that is.)

Kilmer’s role isn’t that big, and it’s kind of cool because he’s a cop that knew him from the neighborhood, but he’s not the guy that’s always trying to bust him. He gives it a shot but isn’t like the arch-nemesis or anything. Actually he kind of likes Danny, and at one point they coach softball together.

Along with Kilmer the cast includes Vincent D’Onofrio (as a squeaky voiced mob boss), Mike Starr, Christopher Walken, Paul Sorvino, Robert Davi, Tony Lo Bianco and Vinnie Jones. I’m sure Dennis Hopper would be in it if he was alive. I was thinking that was everybody who would be in a movie like this but then I realized there was no Michael Madsen. But otherwise it’s all of ’em.

All of those guys are in about ten thousand movies a year and most of them are garbage, but here they’re all used pretty well. For example Vinnie Jones is just a quiet, professional thug that helps Danny muscle all the garbage haulers into unionizing. He doesn’t talk a whole bunch, just looks very intense and wears a hat. It’s a good role for him.

Also it has Jeff Chase, this 6′ 7″ guy who was also in the remake of THE MECHANIC. Since this is a period piece he wears glasses that make him look like Super Drew Carey.

The men in this movie have a simple idea of the American dream. You got a wife, some kids, a car, a house, a business. Danny gets the wife (Linda Cardellini), the kids, the car (a green Cadillac) and, you know, various businesses. When he meets another guy that leads the trash haulers they admire each other, they compliment each other’s vehicles and businesses, they show off their houses and their kids. That’s what makes a man.

But it all gets taken away. His wife leaves him, takes the kids. His house gets blown up, so he has to live above a bar and work out of a trailer. His cars keep getting blown up. I mean, he can get other ones, but it’s dangerous. 36 bombs exploded in Cleveland in the summer of ’75. Some of them were his, but you know, the other ones could’ve got him.

Poor guy can’t even hold on to a radio. One of his car radios starts freaking out, that’s how he knows it’s gonna blow. Then he’s in the park working out, somebody shoots his portable radio. On one hand he’s gotta be thankful, because the radios keep warning him of danger. On the other hand a man’s gotta relax and listen to some tunes now and again, he doesn’t want the radio to get destroyed every time.

Once you’ve lost your wife, kids, house, car and radio you just got your national pride, so he starts busting out the Irish flag. Alot of these mafia guys stick with guys from their own background, so they end up shit talking each other. Danny loves to throw a good ethnic joke at an Italian or a Pollock. In his union days a Scottish guy calls him a potato eater, so he makes a little speech about the history of potatoes and then says at least he doesn’t “eat fat out of a sheep’s asshole.” In those days he wore a green suit and all the carpet and everything in his office was green.

Even after everything’s gone to shit he tries to stick to his routine, put on his Adidas track suit, go to the park, do some jogging and pushups. More than once there are assassination attempts during his workout, but he keeps coming back. Think about that if you’re having trouble getting motivated to go for a run or whatever. Danny Greene kept in shape even though it opened him up to snipers.

I do think at the end Hensleigh is a little too in love with the legend of Danny Greene. For the most part it’s a generous but not worshipful portrayal of a criminal. But in the fateful minutes before he (SPOILER) gets blown up (in my opinion there is a factual error in the tagline “the man the mob couldn’t kill”) he has a group of little boys on bicyles recognizing him and talking to him like he’s Gene Simmons or Evel Knievel. Then for no clear reason he passes on his Celtic Warrior crucifix necklace to one of the kids. That’s going a little overboard in my opinion.

Then Kilmer’s character narrates that “his murder directly led to the indictment of 27 mafia associates” and “the collapse of Cleveland organized crime.” That’s because they caught the guy who blew him up and this led to other people who led to other people and the whole Tyler Perry’s House of Payne came crashing down. Seems to me like an interesting historical detail but not something you can give the guy credit for. He was dead. It’s not like it was his plan to get blown up by a guy that would flip on another guy that would flip on another guy.

One of the extras is an hour long basic cable style special about the real Danny Greene. In the movie they have him see the guy who’s about to blow him up and point at him, finger-gun style. Turns out this is because in real life they found one of his severed arms with the index finger pointing. And one of the cops (the Val Kilmer character I guess) said he was pointing at the guy who did it saying “I’m gonna get you all for this.” And he did. Not on purpose though, is my guess. Like I said, he was dead at the time.

One weird note, I noticed on the credits that Tara Reid is an executive producer. What the hell? Turns out her brother Tommy is a producer who bought the rights to the book and directed that documentary on the extras, so he must’ve figured getting her involved would help too. You always want some of that AMERICAN PIE cast member clout on a movie like this.

I also noticed Richard Jewell’s name on there, but it turns out it’s an actor and not that security guard that found the bomb at the Olympics, saved a bunch of people’s lives but then got blamed and humiliated by the media even though he was innocent. I forgot that guy died. Poor bastard.

Anyway I really dug this movie. If the trailer or poster made you think “Guy Ritchie,” don’t worry about it, it’s not like that. If you like Ray Stevenson, and especially if you want to see him with a mustache, I recommend this picture. He has some different mustaches throughout. You will like it.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 at 11:18 pm and is filed under Crime, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

43 Responses to “Kill the Irishman”

  1. I was hoping you would cover this. Excellent review.

  2. Vern, if you want to see Stevenson being totally awesome, watch Rome.

    In fact, if you just want to see 12 hours of pure badassery, watch Rome. I’m not kidding, the series isn’t only a wonderful and hugely entertaining piece of storytelling, but it’s also full of brutality, some great action scenes, massive amounts of nudity, swearing, and totally badass characters – Both male and female. The production values make it look and feel like a big budget feature film.

    One of the greatest series ever made. And season 1 is a self-contained story, so you don’t even need to watch the the rushed 2nd season.

  3. I was thinking that Hensleigh went too overboard with the hero worship as well, UNTIL the climactic crucifix-gifting scene. To me, it seemed as though Greene was giving up that symbol of pride because he knew he’d behaved badly and was embarrassed that these kids were idolizing him. They gesture to me seemed more like a genuine “Stay in school, eat your vegetables, don’t stop a mob war like I did” than martyring him.

  4. Start a mob war. Sorry. Poor grammar.

  5. I really want to see this one. Stevenson has a great physical presence and he is a talented actor. He should play Jack Reacher in ONE SHOT.

  6. Wow, I don’t know how anyone can say Stevenson lacks charisma. Maybe it’s because he’s so good in the very excellent Rome, it’s seriously good and makes that mediocre Game of Thrones show look even worse in comparison, but I would never say he lacks charisma. He’s even rad in the 3rd Punisher film, one I really enjoyed for how over the top it is.

    I’ll have to check this out! Thanks for the review, Vern!

  7. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 16th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I hadn’t heard of this, thank you very much. I can’t wait to see this, sounds like my cup of tea.

    I was gonna say some horrible things about Vinnie Jones, but I have decided not to be hateful online after realising that its not the done thing (especially here and I really admire that, not you Paul). Thanks again to this site for helping me to grow as a person.

  8. darth irritable

    June 16th, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    What the fuck? Game of Thrones mediocre? I think not.

  9. I wanted to say it was bad but Peter Dinklage is great in it. If the entire series was just the misadventures of Bronn and Tyrion I’d sign up for HBO twice if I could. Instead, we get a cast of awful actors, unlikable characters, terrible pacing, lots of tents, and really awful characters. Did I mention that the characters are awful?

  10. Game of Thrones is really awesomely good. The characters are kinda fascinating even if they’re awful. They’re intriguing at least and that is truly something. The acting is batting about .900 and that’s a more than decent average by any measure. Fantastic stuff, no doubt about it.

    To get back to the post at hand I always wanted to check this out but unsurprisingly it didn’t play theaters where I am. So I’m stoked it’s out on DVD and doubly stoked that Vern gave it his Badass Seal of Approval; obviously that counts for a whole hell of a lot.

  11. Fruit has “too much cholesterol”? WHAT THE FUCK?!

  12. I loved ROME as well, but I think GAME OF THRONES has been fantastic. Took them a few episodes to get a handle on things, but the latter half of the season has been solid gold. Saying the show has awful characters strikes me as particularly odd because both the books and the TV show have been praised precisely because the characters are so layered and interesting. I will say the production values aren’t as good as ROME’s, but then ROME had almost double the budget (which is probably why it only lasted two seasons).

  13. I think a big problem with the show is the source material, especially in terms of characters.

    Here’s my take on the characters (SPOILERS):

    Tyrion: Best part of the books and best part of the series. First, he’s likable and interesting. He also has depth and motivations. He’s not a hero but rises to the occasion. Seriously, if there was no Tyrion no one would care about the books at all.

    Ned: Kind of boring in the books and doubly boring in the series. He always looks really confused and puzzled in the show. He’s boring and honorable and (SPOILER) dies so it’s supposed to be shocking. We spend a lot of time with him but he was always boring to me so his death didn’t matter. The most notable thing about him is that we spend a lot of time with him and then he dies.

    Catelyn: Is awful but I guess we can understand her perspective in the books. In the show she gets like 10 minutes in the season to say and do stuff and mostly she’s an unlikable bore.

    Cersei: Is awful in the books and the chapters from her perspective really illustrate how awful GRRM is about writing from the female perspective. But she makes for an interesting villain. The series, however, does something I would otherwise like if it made sense: the series makes her likable and reasonable. Seriously, that one scene where she talks to Robert about how she loved him and wanted it to work and how it didn’t because he was still all sad and shit by the loss of the woman he really loved makes her into an interesting, likable, understandable, and otherwise sympathetic character. I’m not against that necessarily but the show gives no reason to give a shit about the Starks. They just make the Starks into the default good guys who are otherwise boring and considered with honor, although they’d probably spell it honour, or something.

    Jon / Daenerys: I never cared about them in the books and care even less in the show. They start off unsure of themselves and eventually grow confident and become heroic. I can’t tell you about their personalities, though, since I never saw them display any. I sometimes feel like GRRM wrote Tyrion (and other characters like Davos, Jaime, The Hound, and Brienne) so well and with so much character that he didn’t have any left over for Jon or Dany. But, yeah, their characterization is being heroic which is cool and all but the show casted someone who looks like an angsty cousin of Orlando Bloom for Jon and some wide eyed girl as Dany. They bring nothing to their roles.

    Littlefinger / Varys: Their for exposition and every scene involves Littlefinger being a pimp or Varys being reminded he’s a eunuch. There’s a long scene where it’s just the two of them talking and I wanted to kill myself it was so bad. The scene where Littlefinger has the two sex workers have sex with each other was awful and just gratuitous.

    Jaime: Likable but he shouldn’t be at this point. At least he’s an understandable dude.

    Arya: Tomboy. That’s it. She’s a tomboy. The books eventually make her into a sociopath. The series has an incredibly dull scene where she stabs and kills a boy and it’s done in the most haphazard and undramatic way possible and then has a really awful cut to another scene. It was stupid.

    Robb: Had no personality in the books and has less in the show. He’s scruffy I guess or something?

    Theon: Holy shit, what the fuck why do they keep giving so much screen time to Theon? I know he’s kind of important in the books but they have so much time with that fish-faced gap toothed motherfucker that when Robb starts doing stuff it just feels like Theon’s friend is now doing stuff. I guess he’s a Greyjoy and doesn’t like being a hostage? I think that’s personality. Or something.

    Sansa: Yeah, she believes in knights and heroes and all that other horseshit. Cool.

    Seriously, at this point in the show I’m hoping the Lannisters win. Cersei and Jaime just want to keep having sex and it’s not hurting anyone. I understand their motivations. I understand why Jaime flips out and kills some of Ned’s men when he hears about his brother getting kidnapped by Ned’s harpy wife. I understand why Cersei plots to kill Jon Arryn and then Robert. I understand their motivations. The Stark’s motivation at this point just seems to be some vague sense of honor or something. All they are going to do is get tens of thousands of poor peasants killed because of honor or something.

    The show has some good points, though! Tyrion is great! If it was the Tyrion and Bronn Power Hour it’d be a rad show. I think Sam is a good and sympathetic actor even if they got someone who was too comically fat to play him. I think it’s cool that the Mormonts look similar so it’s easy to buy them as father and son. I think Cersei and Jaime are good actors even if the show screws up and makes them much too likable while forgetting to do the same for the Starks. I liked Khal Drogo and was okay when he’d start speaking Klingon. Oh! And I love the opening credits! Seriously, those are awesome.

    The show needs a LOT of work, though. I think the first thing they should do is ditch the structure of the show. They need to give all the Jon and Dany stuff their own spinoff because their stories don’t matter to the rest of the show. I know The Wire managed to juggle even more characters and plots but those all tied together thematically and told a rich story about Baltimore. Jon and Dany’s stories just interrupt everything else.

    They need a bigger budget. Seriously, if you’re going to film a series that has large battles, dragons, dire wolves, large battles, and everything else you need to spend some money on it. Instead we get lots of tents and the same three or four indoor scenes dressed different depending on where they are.

    They need a fight choreographer. When Bronn and Syrio fight it should be badass. Totally badass. It wasn’t.

    The show, more than anything else, needs a tighter narrative. I dig the stuff with Bran and Hodor and the green people or whatever. I think that was pretty cool. I’m doubtful if it’ll ever matter to the rest of the series, though, so they should ignore it. I think the show needs to be much better focused and learn when it’s okay to tell us something instead of showing us it. We didn’t need ten minutes of Walder Frey last episode, especially when Catelyn had to tell us what happened in parts of the meeting they didn’t show. We didn’t need to see Robert Arryn suckling at his mother’s tit like a brat. We don’t need to see Littlefinger with his sex workers. What we need to see are scenes showing us why we should care about people before killing them off. Instead the show is really lazy and does shit like give Jory a moment or two of humanity moments before they violently kill him.

    I so wanted to love this show. I’ve given the first book out to numerous friends and family as gifts over the years. I used to be a big defender of GRRM. This show just manages to really highlight a lot of the problems I have with the book and reminds me of how unlikely the series is to ever get finished and if it ever does get finished how awful the ending will be (Others come over the Wall and Dany invades with her dragons and joins up with Jon to save the day and they start a new Targeryan dynasty because they’re cousins etc etc etc).

    I think Rome’s budget wasn’t that much larger than AGOT’s. I just think Rome had a much tighter narrative that didn’t require us to see every battle or anything. Rome also didn’t do stupid shit like play ridiculously triumphant music as Robb rides back from a successful battle while never giving us a reason to care for Robb or showing us the battle or explaining why it matters to anyone.

    I don’t know. I’ve soured on the books and I’ve tried watching the show as just the show. I think the show is going to be loved by those that still love the books. I think it’s a great companion piece for those that love the books. For anyone who has not read the books I’d imagine it to be totally confusing and baffling because everyone is so illdefined or not defined at all.

    But, man, Rome is good. The wife and I are watching Deadwood now and that’s also ridiculously good. And Vern needs to watch and review every episode of The Wire. It’s the best show ever.

  14. I knew you’d like this one, Vern. Doesn’t it also speak to Hensleigh as a competent action director who knows how to establish geography and cinematism and stiff? Like his old school, no frills but highly satisfying Punisher #2.

    Good catch on the radios!

  15. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 17th, 2011 at 1:35 am

    Wow Casey, you had a lot to get off your chest about Game of Thrones. I’ve got the first four episodes to watch this weekend. I hope I didn’t spoil anything by reading your essay!

  16. Casey, short comment; you’re wrong about Game of Thrones.

  17. Vern, I have to strongly discourage your even-tongue-in-cheek coinage of the numbering system PUNISHER #N(=1, 2, or 3). I call your attention to yourself:

    “The Punisher is a unique motion picture phenomenon. Not too many characters are in movies three times …. Not sequels or remakes, each one is a do-over. … In fact I would like to see them continue to remake THE PUNISHER every few years, every time with different actors, every time believing they totally fucked it up all the previous times but this time, this time they’ll get it right, I just know it!”

    Exactly right, sir. Sticking sequential numbers on the PUNISHERs, as opposed to the system of naming by year (e.g. I love PUNISHER 1989), diverts attention from the unique punishing greatness.

  18. I can’t wait for PUNISHER 4!

  19. Every year Hollywood makes some sort of violence heavy revenge fantasy movie. How hard would it be to make it into a Punisher movie at the last minute?

    That way we’d get to see a Harrison Ford Punisher, a Liam Neeson Punisher, a Russell Crowe Punisher, and maybe if we’re all good boys and girls and believe in the powers of Santa Clause enough we’d get a Nic Cage Punisher, too.

  20. Jareth Cutestory

    June 17th, 2011 at 7:53 am

    I don’t want to be a dick or anything, but it has to be said: ROME is a bodice-ripper dressed up as a violent historical epic. It’s just as purple and gothic as TRUE BLOOD, and just as ludicrous as DEXTER. The action is cool and the male bonding between McKidd and Stevenson is awesome, but it’s not badass. NURSE JACKIE is more badass than ROME.

  21. Jareth: I’m not a big fan of ROME since 90% of it is doughy dudes in togas discussing politics, but if you don’t think that part where the two centurions make a raft out of the bloated corpses of their comrades to escape a desert island is badass, we may need to change the definition.

  22. Jareth Cutestory

    June 17th, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Jeez, I’m drawing a complete blank on that corpse scene in ROME. It must have been so awesome that it blew the badass fuse in my head. It certainly sounds cool. I better shut my trap about ROME until I take a remedial class or something.

    But I stand by my comment that NURSE JACKIE is badass. That final sequence and last line of dialogue in the finale of the second season was great.

  23. Rome, for me at least, is all about bros being bros to each other. Everything else was good and all but totally secondary.

  24. I liked the stuff in the first season with Pollo and the young future emperor Augustus getting into mischief together. But then they changed actors the next season after the time jump and the new guy they got to play Augustus was a charmless prig, so that whole aspect was gone. Then I started losing interest, because I had little patience with anything that took the focus away from the two centurions.

  25. I think there were maybe 6 episodes with the new actor who played Augustus. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Plus, I think the point was that he was a charmless asshole who didn’t care about love or honor and just wanted to win. I’m not a huge fan of his character or much of the screentime he had but I thought it made for an interesting dichotomy between him and Marc Anthony.

    I do think the last episode has a lot of payoff for the two bros being bros and I get teary eyed just thinking about how great it is. What the hell do I know, though, since I love Lost and think Game of Thrones is mediocre. My taste is questionable at best.

  26. I know it’s probably not a big deal to most viewers. I just really liked that subplot, and I liked the young actor they had playing the character at first. So the second season removed an element that I enjoyed, and I didn’t enjoy all that many to begin with. Hence my boredom. I’m not really a fan of these “People speaking in British accents whether they’re British or not because British = historical” dramas. They all seem pretty tedious and self-serious to me if they don’t have weird little small-scale stories happening in the margins.

  27. Jareth Cutestory

    June 17th, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I just wish I could get the mental image of Brutus’ dick out of my head. Why do I remember that and not a raft made of corspes?

    Don’t anyone answer that. I don’t want to know.

  28. In season 3 they made a raft out of dicks. That’s probably why you remember it so well…

  29. Jareth Cutestory

    June 17th, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Dick rafts and Reacher Rounds. Today is the day the internet peaked.

  30. What else are you going to use to transport seamen?

  31. Knox Harrington

    June 17th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    “I’ll come to your house and drink all your beer” (and then something about fucking his wife.)

    Vern, you are one funny motherfucker.

  32. As someone who grew up in Cleveland, I always thought Danny Greene would make a great film (I’ve been in the parking lot where Greene was blown up). I’m excited to see that this movie is coming out on DVD. I kind of wonder what the state of the gangster film is these days. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good gangster film, but at times it seems like they all stand in the shadow of Goodfellas and Godfather. After those films, is there anywhere else to go?

  33. Jareth Cutestory

    June 18th, 2011 at 8:01 am

    If you allow yakuza films into your definition of gangster, there are all sorts of places to go, from the hard-boiled (Kitano) to the fucked up (Miike).

    I actually prefer the smaller scale gangster films like MILLER’S CROSSING, DONNIE BRASCO and shows like THE SOPRANOS to the epics like GOODFELLAS. But it’s not a style of gangster film that really went anywhere in North America, apart from Cronenberg’s last two films.

    There’s also the rich history of noir films, and the noir-inspired films, like CHINATOWN and LA CONFIDENTIAL. You could spend years watching all that stuff.

    And I like to think that GITY OF GOD points in a great new direction for gangster/crime films. And that string of hybrid crime films, usually a marriage of French and Asian sensibilities starring some combination of Johnny Hallyday, Jean Reno and/or Simon Yam, is promising.

    And, like everyone here, I eagerly look forward to an epic mobster trilogy starring the Muppets. That line about chickens getting plucked will finally make sense when said by Gonzo the Great.

  34. Okay, you’ve got me, Jareth. There’s obviously a lot of life left in the mob movie genre. I do think that Godfather, and especially Goodfellas, cast awfully long shadows. City of God, for example, is a great example of the genre, but it owes a lot to Scorsese. Even the Sopranos had to address film depictions of the mob early on in the series.

  35. Jareth Cutestory

    June 18th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Even Wong Kar-Wai – whose uses crime elements in a very distinct and impressionistic way – owes something to Scorsese, though probably more MEAN STREETS than GOODFELLAS. Something like GHOST DOG is really distinct, unique even, but Scorsese is always going to be part of the conversation.

  36. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 19th, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Vern, you should check out “WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE”if you haven’t already. And a review would be great. It was Hensleigh’s foray into horror/found footage and a direct descendent of “CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST”. He said he made it because after being jerked around by the studios on The Punisher he wanted to make something quick, cheap and extreme and be in total control… Give it a go, I enjoyed it more than the movie(s) it’s paying homage to.

  37. Vinnie Jones aside, this was a quality film. Even though there were Goodfellas-esque touches, the film it reminded me of most was The General by John Boorman, mainly because of the relationship between the gangster and the copper who can’t approve of the guy but can’t hate him either. Watch it. It’s GREAT.

  38. Not sure I agree with the implication that this is at least as good as Mesrine, Vern.

    Mesrine makes it crystal clear that Mesrine is a murdering wife beating (etc) prick – whereas in this movie they have the dude do all that prick stuff but they still play up the “gangster with a heart of gold” cliche. So much so they even have Wise Old Irish Lady tell him that he’s “a good man”. Gag. I feel the moral compass may have been waved a bit too close to a large magnet at some point during development.

    I enjoyed the movie as well, but I could have enjoyed it just as much if not more if it wasn’t trying to make me feel sorry for the guy.

    Just to be clear – Kill The Irishman = good movie. Mesrine = slightly better movie(s).

  39. I agree with you, Anaru. I didn’t mean to imply that it was as good as Mesrine, but I can see why you thought that. I was just making a lame joke about the 2-part crime biopic trend. I do think the movie’s underrated though, judging by some of those reviews, and I think it’s too bad it couldn’t get a bit of a wider release than Anchor Bay can provide. I know I was planning to see it in the theater, but if it was ever released here I didn’t know about it.

    But yes, Mesrine has a little more depth to it for the reasons you state.

  40. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 21st, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Vern, seriously check out and review WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE if you are interested in Hensleigh (which judging by your reviews of ME PUNISHER, YOU JANE and this one, it seems you are). Not a fantastic movie, but an interesting diversion and if only to see his take on the found footage/mondo genre (with his own, just as brutal… rawr, BRUTAL,take on the pole impalement from Cannibal Holocaust- spoiler) .

  41. Nabroleon Dynamite

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I was really impressed with the documentary included in the extras. I watched it twice and only half-watched the actual movie. Wish the doc had been longer cuz that shit was gangsta!!

  42. ALEX CROSS. Anybody seen it? It’s directed by Rob Cohen and some of the reviews seem to imply that it’s hilariously awful, so it sounds entertaining, but most reviewers focus on the miscasting of Tyler Perry as an action hero. I don’t know much about this Tyler Perry guy. I’ve never seen his movies, which go straight to DTV here if they’re released at all. Are they as bad as people say?

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