The Heavy review (Blu-ray)

Ludicrous Brit crime thriller that makes little sense and is entirely devoid of credibility. Differing acting styles of variable quality coupled with some howlingly cliched dialogue render this farrago a total misfire. A pounding music score, flashy camerawork and zippy editing in spots fail to mask its deficiencies.

Stretch plays Boots Mason. Having served seven years in prison for losing his temper and murdering a man, he is now employed as a thuggish gofer cum debt collector for suave and shady businessman Rea. He refuses to wield a gun in his work but is set up by his boss and cohort Ryan in a drugs deal that forces him to use the weapon. This has little to do with the main plot however. His brother Christian (Paul) is a smarmy, self-satisfied politician seeking power who has a rare life threatening condition. Indeed, he has little long to live but his brother could be a possible donor in extending his life - something he has zero sympathy for as it was Christian who responsible for him going to jail in the first place.

Meanwhile, a contract has been put out on Christian's life too, and Chief Inspector Dunn (Jones in goateed geezer guise) is the violent cop assigned to find out who's responsible. He terrorizes barmaid Frost for information as well as stalking out the flat of Claire (Sossamon), which is conveniently situated opposite Whitehall where the politico is due to give an important speech. Is Boots the assassin? If so, will Dunn find him in time? And what bearing does Claire have in the proceedings? Either way, you won't care. Stretch looks commanding and is decked out in sharp threads but his diction is difficult to understand sometimes. Jones is over-the-top as the malevolent cop, failing to project a convincingly fearful countenance when intimidating individuals. Rea underplays but is no more persuasive while Ryan is spirited but unthreatening as his henchman. None of them seem to be in tune with each other in any way, their rhythms are all out of sync - it's as if they're giving performances in different films. Old pros Lee and Marsh look suitably embarrassed as the brothers' parents.

The climax is absurd. Why would Sossamon's character so easily accept an assassin in her midst and so casually go along with the attempted murder of a politician whom she might know? The Heavy has a slick surface and is confidently presented but is ultimately all mouth and no trousers. A Brit gangster opus that is yet another stinker.

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Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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