Dir: Jason Lei Howden (18, 98 mins)
Daniel Radcliffe makes an unlikely action star in this overly frenetic, cartoonishly violent rampage that feels like a cousin to the equally OTT and soulless Jason Statham vehicle, Crank. Radcliffe plays Miles: a bit of a geek, bullied at work, just split from his girlfriend and super meek. He does however troll people online, following his own anti-violence vegan agenda.
One of his targets becomes Skizm, a nasty underground game where violent criminals kill each other for the delight of viewers. Radcliffe posts one too many snarky comments and finds himself abducted – with guns bolted to his hands, he’s the newest competitor in the game, facing up against lethal bad girl Nix, played by Samara Weaving. Radcliffe shows his comedy slapstick chops as he tries to deal with his new appendages, loaded guns strapped to hands making a number one rather tricky.
The police are after him too as mayhem ensues, Nix tracking him down and his inexpert anti-violence floundering making him hard to kill. However, after his ex-girlfriend is kidnapped by the tattooed head of Skizm, Riktor (Ned Dennehy), he must turn the tables on his tormentor; discovering that Nix’s bloodlust has a reason behind it, Miles tries to get her on board. Ceaselessly violent, the camera never staying still, writer/director Howden throws every kinetic trick in the book at this Kiwi actioner, forgetting to base it around a story with engaging characters.
Radcliffe is rather good as the put-upon hero, especially when he is being beaten, chased and apologising, but his character does make somewhat of a violent U-turn. Weaving does her best with a similarly underwritten part, but it’s clear this is all style over substance. Constantly in your face, it never makes you really care, the restless camera dulling the senses. There’s a message of sorts about people getting off on watching violence, but it’s during a film with nonstop violence, so… Radcliffe anchors much of it but this is otherwise rather empty and relentless, patronisingly serving shoot-em-up gamers.
Out now via Amazon Prime
words KEIRON SELF
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