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STUDIO: Ketchup Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
Joe Maguire (Fraser) gets in trouble with the South Boston mob, so he flees to Belfast to work in his cousin’s antique shop. There he inadvertently gets mixed up in a hostage situation with a petty criminal and a local crime boss.
Directed by Terry George, starring Brendan Frasier, Colm Meaney, and David O’Hara.
This one’s kinda like a soft version of a Guy Ritchie film. There’s plenty of colorful characters (including some Irish gypsies) and rapid fire dialogue, but the film never manages to feel original or creative. We’ve seen this type of shit done better in tons of other comedy-crime capers. The problem is the content, which never rises above bland and tired. It stinks to say because the actors are great – even Fraser gives a sweet performance.
Writer/director Terry George has a small but pretty terrific filmography under his belt. He’s done some great films concerning the Irish Troubles (Some Mother’s Son, In the Name of the Father) and won a slew of awards for Hotel Rwanda. Currently he’s writing Inside Man 2, which gets me all kinds of excited, but if his disappointing crime-comedy Stand Off is any indication of his skill with a caper, fans of the original may wind up pretty bummed.
The film focuses on Brendan Fraser (Furry Vengeance), who plays timid antique shop worker Joe Maguire. He’s recently fled South Boston after a hit was put on him by a mob boss for screwing around with his daughter. What better place to hide out from Irish gangsters than Northern Ireland? He’s settled in nicely regardless and even managed to start a fling with a stunning African woman. There’s all kinds of multicultural shit going on in the film, making it a nice break from American crime films, which tend to be either black or white crews.
Maguire’s been seeing a scrawny young man hovering around his shop, staring at him. Of course he believes it’s a hit man sent from Boston, but it turns out to be petty criminal and habitual gambler Randy. He’s played by Michael Legge, best known as Frank from Angela’s Ashes. Legge was recently in the kick ass thriller Tower Block in which he plays a heroic prick. Check out that one if you haven’t yet – it’s a terrific film and he’s great in it. Unfortunately, he’s never given room to breath in Stand Off.
That’s also the issue with the characters played by Colm Meaney and David O’Hara. Colm plays a cop who we never learn much about other than that he eats a lot of bacon. O’Hara plays local crime boss Mad Dog Flynn – a guy who’s got small-town extortion down to a science. O’Hara is downright terrifying in his moments of villainy as he exudes a primitive sorta evil. But like Legge and Meaney’s characters, they’re crippled by the flat script.
The only guy allowed any true depth is Maguire. We learn a lot about him during the film, but his actions toward the end make absolutely no sense. For instance, learns that one of the characters is his long-lost son and instead of some heartfelt, painful moments of atonement, Maguire gets him put into the witness protection program, where he probably will never see him again. Thanks, dad!
Fraser is actually pretty good here despite the shoddy material. I can’t help but love this dude. He’s always had that warm charm to him and it works perfectly here. This is his first gig since he made a lot of funny faces in 2010’s Furry Vengeance and it works as a good warm up exercise for the aging vet.
Stand Off won’t satisfy action, crime, or comedy fans. It’s a frustrating, jumbled film that trips over its various subplots and failed gags. Although the acting manages to save it at times, it’s tough to get past the lame script and dumbfounding characters. Fingers crossed Terry George can get it together for Inside Man 2.
Just a trailer on this bare bones package.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars