Saturday, July 23, 2011

365 Movies Day #117 "Kill the Irishman"

Jonathan Hensleigh, the man that gave us the 2004 Punisher flick, which aside from being set (for some damned reason unbeknownst to me) was a great film with a very cool Punisher in Thomas Jane. Ray Stevenson is a wonderfully underrated actor who is best known for his work on the TV series "Rome", but also knocked out some wonderful performances in "King Arthur", "Book of Eli" and previously mentioned "OUTPOST". He does wonders as Danny Greene, "The Irishman" in this flick (an coincidentally replaced Jane in "Punisher: War Zone" which was abysmal despite Ray being a cool Frank Castle). So, why the heck did this film sneak by the theaters with barely a whisper? It deserved a lot more.

"Kill the Irishman" is a fabulous mob biopic of the charismatic, real life Danny Greene. It covers his rise and fall in a compelling story and the mix of news reel footage in with the film is a great touch. Hensleigh is proving he belongs listed among names like Walter Hill. The cast he pulled together for this one is fantastic.

For starters, Christopher Walken, who's filmography needs no telling here (though he was in previously mentioned "THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU'RE DEAD" back on day 6!). Walken covers all his typical bases as a dangerous yet friendly mobster who tells great stories in typical Walken fashion. Vincent D'Onofrio gives one of his best performances in years as a mob smartguy and best friend to Greene, though he also proves to have a killer's hands. Val Kilmer is underused as Detective Joe Manditski, but not nearly as much as Vinnie Jones (the Juggernaut bitch!), who appears in a very small cameo role as one of Greene's toughs. Mobster staples like Robert Davi (best known for his role in "Goonies"), Paul Sorvino ("THE ROCKETEER" and Mike Starr ("BLACK DYNAMITE" make appearances as well.

If you like true mob stories or seeing a grown man slap the crap out of someone, or if you just want to hear some of the hilariously witty things that come out of Stevenson's mouth during the film, or if you just want to watch Hensleigh pull off a star-filled period mob piece with only a $4million budget, you definitely need to check this out on DVD. Maybe then you can be equally stunned at it's tiny theatrical release.


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