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Featured TV on DVD Review: The Hitman Diaries: Charlie Valentine

October 17th, 2010

The Hitman Diaries: Charlie Valentine - Buy from Amazon

Written and directed by Jesse V. Johnson, who started in stunts, but has written and directed a number of films in the past few years, mostly low budget movies that don't earn a theatrical release. These includes The Hitman Diaries: Charlie Valentine, which was made last year and after a number of Film Festival runs, it is coming out direct-to-DVD this week.

The Movie

Raymond J. Barry stars as the titular Charlie Valentine, an aging Chicago gangster who is now in his sixties, but still living like he is in his twenties. Unaware or unwilling to admit it is time to retire, he decides to take on a rival gang leader, Rocco, which goes very poorly and he is the only member of his crew to get away. (Rocco's men even go after his girlfriend.)

With nowhere to turn, he heads across country to his estranged son's place. Danny is also in the business, although he's just a low-level collector for a small time loan shark. Danny's looking to learn the business and Charlie's more than willing to teach him. However, it won't be long before Rocco comes for revenge.

That's a pretty short plot description, but there's not much more to the movie than that. (There's a cop who's investigating Rocco, and trying to make sure no more violence erupts, for instance.) A lot of the film feels borrowed and includes a wide number of clich├ęs from the "one last job", the gentleman gangster, the redemption, the final confrontation.

Speaking of which, when you have a gun pointed at someone who wants to kill you, you shoot them. You don't threaten them. You shoot them. You shoot them and negotiate with the second in command. "What are you going to do with that gun, Charlie?" BLAM!

On the other hand, Raymond J. Barry does have a commanding presence as Charlie Valentine, but that was the only part of the movie that was above average.

The Extras

Extras on the DVD start with an audio commentary track with the director and a couple of the crew. There is also a 15-minute making of featurette.

The Verdict

There are too many films that are too similar to The Hitman Diaries: Charlie Valentine for this film to stand out. The DVD isn't featureless, but unless you are a hardcore fan of the genre in general, or of some of the stars in particular, it is worth no more than a rental.

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