Jack Falls review (DVD)

After surviving an assassination attempt in Amsterdam, former undercover police officer Jack Adleth (Phillips) goes to London to find out who tried to kill him and why. But his return is more perilous than even he imagined, with former colleagues and gangster associates alike seemingly out to get him. Not only that, but his guilty conscience is determined to undermine his every move.

Pitched as a British gangster movie which also tries to be a film noir, this ends being more of a disposable camera noir. It’s a valiant effort  but in the end the sheer weight of clichés makes it feel like a parody at times. And when the best thing about it is the proper Lahndan accents, then you know something’s very wrong.

Like its predecessors Jack Says and Jack Said, this is based on a graphic novel. The third in a trilogy – although confusingly, a fourth is already is pre-production – Jack Falls is a black and white film with flashes of colour. However, but the blacks and whites aren’t crisp enough and the contrast isn’t sufficiently great to make it feel like a proper black and white film, while the blood comes across as a ridiculous ketchup red.

The main problem with the film is that the star played by Simon Phillips doesn’t have enough screen presence, or indeed decent lines, to hold his own against the likes of Alan Ford, Dexter Fletcher and Doug Bradley, all of whom steal scenes from him left, right and centre. TV’s Olivia Hallinan (Sugar Rush) makes a frankly terrible feature film debut as leading lady, although the direction and script really don’t help.

Director Paul Tanter may have been aiming for a cross between Sin City and GoodFellas but it falls decidedly short. Only a massive injection of cash and far better writing and direction will help the forthcoming Jack Rises be a significant improvement on this clichéd and uninspired effort.


Justin Bateman is a Screenjabber contributor

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