Jack Said

Adapted from the graphic novel by Paul Tranter, Jack Said is a prequel to the 2008 East End gangster flick Jack Says. In the grim, grimy and decidedly seedy criminal underworld of London town, undercover copper Jack (Phillips) finds his loyalties tested when fellow gang member and pal Nathan (Dyer) steals from the Guv’Nor and heads underground, leaving him left to pick up the pieces. Stepping into his vacated shoes, he has to straddle the fine line between carrying out his police duty and keeping up his end of the bargain as demanded by the boss’s volatile daughter Nathalie (Walker), his twin identities continually volleying for dominance.

It’s a weaving and winding plot with all manner of double crosses and twists, but without any real emotional grounding the events carry little weight or impact. Which in itself is no bad thing, and could have been counterbalanced by a fleet-footed take on the subject matter and an element of humour but the script is too reverent of its source material, regarding it as a something akin to Raymond Chandler or Elmore Leonard. Sadly, it is more like what would happen should the boozers of Albert Square’s Vic find themselves down a dark alley with Frank Miller on the way to an episode of The Bill.

It lacks the sparky dialogue of Guy Ritchie’s ‘mockney’ capers, or the grim realism of The Long Good Friday and classic London gangster flicks of such ilk. It doffs its Burberry hat to its graphic novel roots through a gravely voiceover and Sin City-esque shots, but the former adds nothing new to the story nor is it carried off with any panache, and the latter is less a stylistic approach and more a sporadic afterthought peppered throughout the film with reckless and inexplicable abandon. An ill-advised romantic subplot fails to take hold and poor performances hinder things further, with Phillips never totally convincing as either the conflicted rozzer or the hard man he has to pretend to be. Never mind what Jack said, we say that this is just not much cop at all.

Official Site
Jack Said at IMDb

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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