10 Dead Men

Dir: Ross Boyask
Star: Brendan Carr, Terry Stone, Doug Bradley, Keith Eyles

Ryan (Carr) is a former hit-man, who is now looking forward to settling down to a more normal life. However, old colleague Axel comes calling, asking for one last favour; since Ryan was bailed out by Axel previously, he feels obliged to repay the debt. Bad move. He has to watch his other half get killed, and ends up beaten, shot and tossed overboard, left for dead. Emphasis on 'left for,' and that's where the bad guys make their mistake. Ryan comes back, intent on exacting retribution on everyone responsible for the fate which befell him and his missus, and clearly has the skills to make good on his vengeful mission. [Not least since Ryan is tossed overboard, securely-wrapped in bin-bags, yet washes up onshore in his shirt and trousers] To quote Gilbert and Sullivan, he's "got a little list, of society offenders who might well be underground, and who never would be missed". Though I don't recall anyone in The Mikado, who had a growing collection of fingers for mementos, such as the one Ryan accumulates in a plastic bag, as he works his way through his 'Things to do'.

This British action flick has inspiration from all over the place [the 'See Also' section has a few pointers], and it's pretty clear Carr only got the role because Jason Statham was unavailable - or, more likely, too expensive. He aims for much the same stoic intensity; that he falls somewhat short is no real surprise. Still, the film knows its limitations, and works well enough within them, delivering more than enough bone-crunching action to satisfy most viewers, with a good variety of styles. In an inventive touch, Ryan doesn't say a single word for the entire movie, relying on the narrator (Bradley - best known as Pinhead from the Hellraiser series) to vocalize his thoughts; usually, an over-abundance of narration is a sign of a poor script, but in this case it's an interesting stylistic choice. It does perhaps go for overkill, in the most literal sense, and 'Six Dead Men' would probably have been sufficient. However, it's refreshing to see another example of a decent independent genre movie coming out of the UK.

[The DVD was released on January 27th by MTI Home Video. It's wide-screen and the additional features include behind the scenes footage. For more information, please visit MTI's website]

[February 2009]

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