(Who Says Revenge is) Dead Man Down Review

Dead Man Down Review
By Bret Dorman

There’s that old saying everyone says that there are no new stories anymore, that all stories can basically be boiled down to 8 types. Revenge is one of those common themes. So… we’ve all seen it before. Something bad happens then someone wants to do something bad to someone else. Yatta yatta yatta people die and everyone is miserable. What I don’t like are movies that take this very generic premise and treat it as averagely as possible. What’s the point? I’ve seen that. I like movies with style, flair, and charisma. Unfortunately Dead Man Down has none of that.

Pretty cool poster for a lame movie.

Pretty cool poster for a lame movie.

The Story: Victor (Colin Ferrell) is in some gang and his boss Alphonse (Terrence Howard) is getting a lot of freaky letters. Victor wants revenge but Alphonse doesn’t know it! Woah! Victor’s neighbor Beatrice (Noomi Rapace) is an ex-beautician turned car accident victim. She like-likes Victor for his brooding good looks and his revenginess. Also, in an attempt to be more international, some characters speak French and Hungarian!

The first half hour of the movie actually moves pretty fast. Dead people show up for no reason, people reveal their secret interests and identities right away, and there’s lots of crazy mayhem. I actually thought I was going to have a good time, even if the movie was less badass than I was hoping for. The first shootout appears for no reason (although due to a cool scene) but it’s a bit choppy and filled with the usual people shooting off screen shots.

Concerned anti-hero and beautiful femme fatale? meh...

Concerned anti-hero and beautiful femme fatale? meh…

However, the middle hour just drags and drags. Except for one awesome ‘chase scene’ in which a bunch of people get outsmarted then killed by Colin Ferrell the movie goes back and flat out explains why its characters are doing what they’re doing. Yeah… we got it, from the first half hour when they explained their motivations and in a much less obvious way. There’s even a weird scene where Terrence Howard sets up a “trap” (although how its a trap I’m not sure, since he tells Ferrell to be there) then goes on a teary eyed monologue about how sad he is, all the while maybe or maybe not outing Ferrell as the traitor. Ferrell just stares on confused, as is the rest of the audience. The cool “burn it down” line from the trailer is in this scene, in which Howard does NOTHING in this scene or after. Total waste. There’s also one character, Darcy, who is literally retracing the steps of a dead guy to find the traitor, recapping not only what has happened but resulting in more background explanations.

Once all tension has been drained, people get kidnapped and plans get foiled. Then Ferrell crashes a badguy party and a bunch of people shoot at each other. The End.

The problem with the movie is that everyone is trying to act as normal as possible, saying the most generic things possible, and doing the most cliche things possible. At one point Ferrell is on the run from his gangster “buddies” and gets in a car with Rapace. The badguys see this. Then when the car pulls over, Ferrell and Rapace start making out and the badguys catch up. Ferrell plays it cool and they totally forget the fact that the guy they were chasing got into that car. I also find it hard to believe Howard was supposed to be responsible for putting a hit ON Ferrell, and is SO clueless that he doesn’t even know what he looks like and lets him become one of his right hand men. They try to explain this by saying Howard “outsourced” the hit, but come on. I’m all for forgiving certain things, but that’s just crazy.

remix of the regular poster.

remix of the regular poster.

Speaking of crazy, Noomi Rapace has to go from sweet love interest to insane lady out for revenge in a matter of seconds. On the one hand you feel sorry for her and on other you might be annoyed by the relaxed anger she brings. She wants Ferrell to kill the guy who hit her car, but keeps delaying his time limit so he can do his own thing. Rapace does her best with what she has and definitely is able to elevate the love story to semi-endearing. Also, even thought she’s scarred and supposedly “ugly” she’s still beautiful all the time no matter what. Dominic Cooper as Darcy has lots of potential and would probably have been more interesting from his point of view. Lastly, Luis Da Salva Jr plays a mostly silent gang member, but stands out as a potential threatening presence. He doesn’t do much though other than hold a gun… very menacingly though.

There are some genuinely funny moments, some genuinely badass moments (involving an extension chord), and some non-intentional funny parts. In the end it’s the same thing you’ve seen before. Only instead of trying to stand out, it desperately tries to fit in.

In Conclusion, everything you’ve probably seen from the trailers is really nitpicking from the best most badass moments of the movie. But it’s not just that the trailers show the best parts, they show the best intent of the film. The parts they show in the movie lack the power and drive the trailers can so nicely wrap up in 2 minutes.

Final Grade: D

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2 responses to “(Who Says Revenge is) Dead Man Down Review

  1. It’s a revenge flick that does have its fun action and really strong acting, but it also has it’s clichés that bring it all down. Good review Bret.

    • Thanks!

      Even though I disagree about the

      fun action (I thought most of it was serviceable. Fun would be ridiculous crazy stuff, most the action is pretty grounded.)

      really strong acting (other than Rapace I think the actors were okay. And Terrence Howard was a bit dry at times…)

      We still agree it all comes down regardless. If you’re gonna have that many cliches, try to stand out in other ways, don’t use them for dramatic effect…!

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