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Kill The Irishman



106 Minutes

Out Now To Rent and Buy


The true story of an Irish Mobster who took on the Itallian Mafia in the 70’s.  Its Goodfellas all over again…..




“I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter”

There are certain films in my life that I can not help but watch over and over.  By now regular readers will now that it will take a very special film to take over my number one horror mantle from Halloween and I have a few films of different genres that I hold in such high esteem.  The other film which I cherish with all my heart is the Martin Scorsese 90’s classic Goodfellas, for me the ultimate portrayal of the gangster life.  Its a movie that I make time for once a year, never bettered but often copied and its that blueprint that bubbles across the surface in Kill The Irishman, a story based on the life of Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson),  a man who came from out of nowhere and took on the mafia in the glorious 70’s.

With the beginning showing  Danny as a young boy looking across to the gangsters who live nearby while the voice over of Val Kilmer blares from your screen, you be forgiven to think that this film has a bare face cheek in trying to mimic such a classic film, the problem with this tale is that while all fans of this genre will watch to the very end, its a tale that has been told many times before and better, even though the stellar cast raises the quality up at times.

Danny was born from nothing to working as a longshoreman which led him to the role of Union Boss to then prison, before then coming a kind of Robin Hood figure.  Its his dealing with Shondor Burns (Christopher Walken), a local loan shark that turns his life upside down, when some money goes missing and irish pride stops Danny from paying back the Mafia.  Of course you do not annoy one of the most powerful families in the world, but then you also try no to con an Irish man, and its his refusal that brought a 70’s turf war to the city, and his legacy was that the mafia no matter what, they could not kill this guy.

From failed gun shots, car bombs, and house explosions, this hard irish guy walked away from them all, and his name became one of the most famous in that decade especially when he fought back and all of this was played out the public eye.

Kill The Irishman re-unites two people of a failed comic book franchise in that of Stevenson and director Jonathan Hensleigh.  The director whose talent behind the camera is yet to really kick off, made the first Punisher film which arrived with not so much critical acclaim, while Stevenson took over the character role for the sequel which arrived with even worse reviews, so you can see why the two were so desperate to try and do a well established formula.

Stevenson is solid in the lead role, even though he lacks the emotional punch to really make the character have this drive to connect to the audience, while Hensleigh plays it safe behind the camera and fails to add the required bite to bring something nasty to proceedings.  Its just when watching this film, you do not once get excited by what you seeing, and the story is so sticking to a formula, that you can actually leave the room for five minutes and come back and still know what direction its going.

Hensleigh and co-writer Jeremy Walters took hold of Cleveland district police chief Rick Porrello’s book To Kill the Irishman: The War That Crippled the Mafia, and tried to adapt the screenplay and while they achieved the book’s main points, its the lack of freshness that stands out from it all.

You probably have more fun in seeing all the old faces from gangster films gone by with even Goodfellas  Paul Sorvino turning up, playing….you guessed it a Goodfella, and while the famous face of Walken is great to see, his performance in here is no King Of New York, and its one that he can do in his sleep when asked.

The biggest waste of the film is the sub plots that may have well served better if it was concentrated more on.  One of the frustrating aspects is the relationship between Green and the cop Joe Manditski (Kilmer), who at the beginning seems to be set up to be one of Greens nemesis but later turning out to be a certain friend but then just vanishes when the climax plays put.

The biggest crime of the film is not what these guys get up to but that the film lacks a killer bite, especially as the tale to be told is a good one.  While I watched it to the very end just to see what became of this Irish legend, its a thriller that I quickly wanted to put out of mind, because coming towards the final quarter I had the a thought that made me sigh in despair.  Why am I watching this Goodfella hopeful when I could be watching the real thing, and that just sums up everything you gangster fans need to know when deciding to watch this!
 Rating: ★★☆☆☆

[pt-filmtitle]Kill the Irishman[/pt-filmtitle]

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About Ross Hughes 524 Articles
Since my mother sat me down at the age of five years of age and watched a little called Halloween, I have been hooked on horror. There is no other genre that gets me excited and takes me to the edge of entertainment. I watch everything from old, new, to cheap and blockbusters, but I promise all my readers that I will always give an honest opinion, and I hope whoever reads this review section, will find a film that they too can love as much as I do! Have fun reading, and please DO HAVE NIGHTMARES!!!!!!

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