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Featured TV on DVD Review: The Heavy

December 20th, 2010

The Heavy - Buy from Amazon

The Heavy opened in its native U.K. in the spring, and to say it bombed is kind of generous. During its opening weekend it made less than $10,000 playing on 27 screens. Now that it is coming out direct-to-DVD this week, it is bound to perform better. It could hardly perform worse. But does it deserve to find success on the home market?

The Movie

Former boxer Gary Stretch plays Mitchell 'Boots' Mason, a man who has recently been released from prison after doing seven years for killing a guy in a drunken fight. He now works for the crime boss that got him out of prison early, Anawalt, working in the collection department. In other words, he punches people in the face till they give him the money they owe his boss. (Business must be good, considering the fancy car he's driving.) His most recent job is supposed to be a simple transaction with some drug dealers moving into Anawalt's territory, but when he gets there, he finds instead of being given money, he was given a gun and he has to shoot his way out. When he confronts Anawalt, his boss offers him one last job in exchange for his debt being paid in full. Unfortunately, he has a cop, Dunn, tailing him looking for the first opportunity to take him down.

Meanwhile, Boots has to deal with a rather dysfunctional family after his dad contacts him. It was his brother's testimony that got him sent away in the first place. His brother wants to talk to him, but Boots only wants to talk to his mother, as they haven't spoken since he was convicted. When Boots finally does talk to his brother, it's bad news as his brother is dying of a rare heart disorder, and it's genetic so Boots needs to be tested.

It's about at this point were we starting walking into unacceptable spoiler territory, not that this film doesn't spoil the ending too soon anyways. Predictability is one of the film's weaknesses. It is also quite slow moving, with stylish scenes of Boots driving around London added to pad the time. By the time the plot finally does get moving, it's obvious where it's going, but viewer likely won't care anymore. About the only part of the plot that doesn't feel purely formulaic is the bouncing back and forth time lines. And that's simply not enough.

This would have been forgivable if this was a mindless action film; however, there are two problems. One, watching the film you get the definite feeling that the writer / director was going for something a whole lot more than mindless action. Hell, you don't cast Christopher Lee in a mindless action film. Two, there were too few action scenes and the ones that were in the movie were not done well enough to be selling points. The early gun fight between Boots and the drug dealers showed Boots with god-like shooting skill, which strained credibility. Meanwhile, the climatic gun fight between Boots and Dunn is so poorly done that it would have been better off to skip it. Firstly, silencers don't silence guns. "Hearing safe" silencers merely reduce the noise below the OSHA regulations, which is 140 decibels. Really good ones make it difficult to identify the location of the gunshot from a distance. Secondly, bullets are not magically stopped by pillows. In this climactic gun battle, Dunn is using a couch as cover. A couch. Boots is hiding behind an interior wall. Neither of which will stop a bullet.

Perhaps when I saw Christopher Lee was in this movie, my expectations were lifted far too high.

The Extras

Extras include two behind-the-scenes / making of featurettes with a combined running time of 10 minutes. There's also a 3-minute "music video", but it's just more behind-the-scenes footage / clips from the movie set to a Paul Oakenfold song. Finally, there's an image gallery, TV spots, and trailer.

The Verdict

The Heavy has a cast that is much better than average for the genre, but it is let down by a script that never truly rises above the formula and doesn't do enough with the ideas it does have. Add in a DVD that doesn't have any really substantial extras, and this is safely skippable, unless you are a fan of the cast.

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Filed under: Video Review, The Heavy