Dead Man's Cards (15)

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James Marquand

The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner13/12/2006

One out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

A badly acted, badly written, badly shot and badly edited mess. One of the worst films of the year.

What's it all about?
James McMartin (who looks a bit like Joey - The Lips - Fagin, from The Commitments) plays Tom, an ex-boxer whose dodgy eye injury has forced him into retirement. A chance encounter with the bloke from The Full Monty (Paul Barber, playing, er, Paul) leads to a job as a nightclub bouncer and from then on the plot is all about pissing off the local crims to the point where they want revenge with shooters.

The Bad
James McMartin gives a truly abysmal performance in the lead – one can only assume he once saved the producer from drowning or something. Barber's usually pretty good in support, but he's given too much to do here and he ends up giving a weirdly monotonous performance.

Tom Bell fares mildly better as cowboy hat-wearing nightclub owner, Billy the Kid, but Mark Russell (as lead crim Chongi) isn't remotely scary and is guilty of some seriously bad Grange Hill-style acting. As for Samantha Janus, she is completely wasted as Tom's wife and is barely in the film at all, despite prominent billing.

The Worst
Dead Man's Cards is reminiscent of Guy Ritchie's appalling Revolver (officially the worst film of last year) in that there seems to be something important going on that you're supposed to pick up on (eg minor characters shooting the lead with plastic guns or fingers, or people telling him, You're dead!). However, the script is so painfully inept that you're none the wiser as to what it all means (if anything) by the end.

Unfortunately, the dire nature of the film doesn't stop there. Some scenes seem to come from nowhere (for example, Tom's decision to quit) and entire characters just disappear for no reason.

Worth seeing?
Badly written, poorly conceived and ineptly directed with shockingly awful performances thrown in for good measure. Avoid like your life depended on it.

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Content updated: 22/08/2018 07:57

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