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STUDIO: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes
- “Lifting The Heavy” – A Behind-the-Scenes Look
- “One Last Job” – The Making of The Heavy
- Music video feat. Paul Oakenfold
- TV Spots
- Trailer Gallery
With Vinnie Jones and Christopher Lee in it, the movie will just make itself. Right?
Gary Stretch, Vinnie Jones, Stephen Rea, Shannyn Sossamon, Lee Ryan, Christopher Lee and Adrien Paul. Directed by Marcus Warren
Mitchell “Boots” Mason (Gary Stretch) has had a pretty tough life. He accidentally murdered the man who was sleeping with his wife, his brother was the star witness against him, his parents completely ignored him while he was in prison and during his bid, his young daughter was hit by a car and died. A shady businessman\gangster, Mr. Anawalt (Stephen Rea), gets him released from prison, only to force Boots into being his primary debt collector and enforcer. Meanwhile, Dunn (Vinnie Jones), an insane and revenge driven policeman, will stop at nothing to put Boots back behind bars or put him in the ground. Promised freedom by Anawalt if he does just one more job, Boots will have to decide if selling his soul is worth the freedom it will buy him.
I really don’t have a whole lot to say about this movie. It’s competently directed with stylistic flourishes early on that disappear as the movie progresses, there’s good acting and bad acting side by side and the structure is interesting, if ultimately pointless. It does have a little twist at the end that I should have seen coming, so I won’t go into the plot details too much other than to say, aside from the twist (which doesn’t completely work), the plot is standard and doesn’t add anything new to the genre, but it doesn’t put a nail in it’s coffin, either.
The casting of this movie is incredibly strange. Gary Stretch (who looks like a blend of Dr. Christian Troy, Wayne Newton and Gene Simmons) has zero charisma or personality and seems to literally be sleepwalking through the role. I Wiki’d his ass and read that he used to be a boxer and a model before landing a role in Dead Man’s Shoes and, since Paddy Considine owned that movie, I’m having trouble remembering Stretch in it at all. His next film is Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus which (since I have to watch shit like that) means I can give him one more chance. He’s not horrible, he’s just dull, and a more exciting and electric lead could have elevated this movie above it’s DTV origins.
Sir Christopher Lee, in what amounts to an extended cameo, is completely wasted but never gives into the temptation of phoning it in and goes full Saruman with it. Incredibly enough, the scene stealer of this film was Vinnie Jones who I really liked in films like Mean Machine, Snatch and Lock, Stock, but after years of sub par performances in shit like X3, Midnight Meat Train and The Condemned I wasn’t expecting much, however, he gives a truly unhinged performance that made the minutes fly by whenever he was on screen. Also, whoever this Lee Ryan (as Rubin, one of Anawalt’s lackeys) fellow is, I don’t like him. He’s no good for the motion picture industry and should be discarded at once. He’s like a Diet Andrew Garfield.
About a half an hour into the movie, a giant subplot appears relating to Adrian Paul as Boots’ brother. He testified against Boots but now desperately needs his brother’s bone marrow or he’ll die in a month or so. It’s a typical sibling rivalry storyline that gains importance very quickly and ends up becoming what the entire film is about, which is too bad, because it takes away from the cat and mouse game between Boots and Dunn (Brit country duo?). Paul is fine as Christian Mason, but you’re left completely confused about his motivations by the end of the movie, so it just ends up being a shrug-worthy storyline in a movie with too many of those to begin with.
The structure of the film got on my nerves by the end as it became clear that it was utterly pointless and the product of post production editing shenanigans. Around 10 minutes into the film, as we’re starting to learn Boots’ connection to the other characters, we flash to Claire (Shannyn Sossamon) chilling in her living room when someone knocks at the door. As she opens it, Boots forces his way in and holds her hostage for undisclosed reasons. For the rest of the film we keep flashing over to Claire’s house where at first she is terrified but eventually starts asking Boots personal questions and giving him completely unsolicited advice. By the time you reach the final 15 minutes, you realize the Claire scenes were just the climax and the film could easily have been told chronologically without sacrificing anything other than a few moments of false tension. Sossamon isn’t bad, but her character feels underdeveloped and a bit shoehorned in. Without delving into spoilers, the relationship between Claire and Boots is easily the most unbelievable part of the whole film and results in a climax that doesn’t feel well thought out or even earned.
The more I write about The Heavy the less I like it. None of the pieces add up to the ending that you get and the dramatic catharsis moment at the end feels rushed in a movie that already feels much longer than it’s 101 minute running time. Another giant problem is that none of the characters are really likable, let alone relatable. Boots comes closest, but only through default as he’s the protagonist and has the most screen time. But there is a good movie in there somewhere, it’s just not this one. If the script maybe had one or two more drafts written then this could have been a tight little revenge thriller, but instead we’re left with a collection of some decent scenes that don’t add up to anything substantial.
When all is said and done, The Heavy is anything but. It is light, inconsequential entertainment that will never find an audience in the oversaturated British crime genre, even with the stellar performance by Vinnie Jones. Rent Dead Man’s Shoes or40 Inch Chest instead.
There are three short featurettes. One goes into the stunt work and art design of the film, the second has the actors talking about their character’s motivations and the third shows more behind the scenes footage, only with Paul Oakenfold’s annoying trance score blasting over it. Also there is a montage of production stills, a few TV spots, theatrical trailers and a Lionsgate reel. Overall there’s nothing here that deepens the experience of watching the film or makes the piece any better in hindsight. The special features are like the movie- boring and superfluous.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars