out of Five
Running time: 86
British thriller starring Kenny Doughty and Ingvar Eggert Sigursson as a nightclub owner and a hitman who are forced to kill each other by the psychopathic son (Mark Womack) of the gangster (John Castle) they are suspected of murdering.
What's it all about?
Directed by Mark Cripps, David Ellison and James Marquand (however that worked), I Against I is set in London and stars Kenny Doughty as nightclub owner Ian Drake, who's snatched off the street by psychotic gangster Joseph Carmichael (Mark Womack) and accused of murdering Joseph's father, gangster boss Tommy Carmichael (John Castle). When Drake protests his innocence, he points to another figure on the CCTV footage Joseph shows him and accuses the other man, whereupon Joseph gives him until 6am to find and kill his father's murderer. However, the other man turns out to be trained hitman Issac Revchenko (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson), who has also been tasked with killing Drake.
The main problem with the film is that none of the characters are especially likeable (Drake, in particular, is rather shifty), so you don't really care who killed Tommy or which of Drake or Issac is going to come out on top. This is partly the fault of the writing, which gives you no reason to get behind anyone on screen, other than that Doughty is nominally the leading man, although his whiny, high-pitched voice and permanently smug look rather mitigate against him in that department.
Similarly, Sigurðsson is rather dull as Issac, while Womack opts for wildly over the top as Joseph. This is the sort of film that thinks a penchant for Russian Roulette is a good shorthand for a dangerously unhinged psycho. Which, of course, it is, except that anyone with a penchant for Russian Roulette isn't likely to be around very long.
The dialogue is perfunctory at best, as the key focus of the script is to keep springing a series of surprises in the flashbacks, which occur at random rather than as a result of anything Drake or Issac are doing on screen. Consequently, it's impossible not to feel manipulated by the film at every turn, or you would do, if you cared that much.
On top of that, the finale of the film is both eminently guessable and completely nonsensical, to the point where you wonder if the three directors took a third each and did their own thing, without bothering to liaise about the actual plot.
This is a disappointing British thriller that is probably best avoided, thanks to a poorly thought out script and unlikeable characters.