Written by J.H. Wyman
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev
Starring Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Dominic Cooper and Terrence Howard
I don’t know what it is about boys and guns but I’m growing somewhat weary of seeing the pairing appear in film after film. DEAD MAN DOWN, a film that was essentially doomed when someone out there decided that was an acceptable title, is a watered down version of every revenge fantasy that came before it. Worse yet, it tries to work insight and emotion into the mix, which only truly highlight how thin it actually is. Fortunately for director, Niels Arden Oplev, his reunion with his original THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO star, Noomi Rapace, infuses the film with just enough dramatic breadth to save it from disaster.
DEAD MAN DOWN is a fairly complex affair. This tends to happen though when no one is who they claim to be. Victor (Colin Farrell) is a hired gun working with a gangster by the name of Alphonse (Terrence Howard), who likes to flip buildings or something. We know he is a bad man because he has an entourage and they all have guns. Of course, Victor has a troubled past that no one knows about that threatens to undermine Alphonse’s entire empire. And when Victor isn’t trying to take down the mini-mob from the inside, he is flirting with the girl who lives in the building across from him (Rapace) from his balcony. Of course they meet and we soon learn that she too has secrets but what else can you expect from a beautician who has been in a car accident and is no longer beautiful.
I joke, basically because I can’t help myself, but Farrell and Rapace provide an emotional center, without which, DEAD MAN DOWN would be almost unwatchable. Any scene that doesn’t revolve around their romance, which is hesitant and refreshingly cautious, is either painfully cliched or packed with gunfire to make up for the awkward silence. They both have a past that has left them feeling dead and buried but you can feel that they want to reach out to each other despite their learned behaviour. Their connection is compelling but their chemistry is completely wasted once the whole affair culminates in yet another barrage of gunfire. DEAD MAN DOWN attempts resurrection but just simply never comes alive.