Colin Farrell has infiltrated NY criminal Terrence Howard’s inner circle with the specific purpose of seeking vengeance on him for the ordered hit on he and his family. His wife and kid died (all three are Hungarian immigrants, by the way!), but the idiot Albanian hit man didn’t check Farrell’s vital signs closely enough and now he’s going to take them all down one by one. Dominic Cooper plays another guy in Howard’s criminal organisation who joined around the same time as Farrell and has become a trusted friend to him. Meanwhile, Noomi Rapace plays a fragile, physically scarred neighbour who blackmails Farrell into helping her with her own vengeance plan. She wants him to kill the drunk driver whose actions caused permanent scarring to her face. F. Murray Abraham turns up as one of the trusted few who know of Farrell’s plan and true identity, Isabelle Huppert (!) is Rapace’s partially deaf mother, and Armand Assante has a cameo as one of Howard’s associates who starts to get nervous once bodies start turning up thanks to Farrell. Look (really hard) for British-born WWE Superstar Wade Barrett as one of Howard’s henchmen.
One of the oddest films to find WWE Studios attached (among several other companies mind you), this 2013 crime-drama from director Niels Arden Oplev (the original Swedish version of “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) and writer J. H. Wyman (writer-executive producer of TV’s “Fringe”) is extremely, dour, obviously European-influenced (it looks, plays, and feels it), and wastes WWE Superstar Wade Barrett (real name Stu Bennett) in a throwaway henchman role. When he was mocked for it on WWE shows, I assumed it was an exaggeration. Nope, Mr. Barrett (whose best asset as a wrestler is his ability on the ‘stick’ as it were- talking) really is given a nothing role, and I’m not entirely certain his awful attempt at an American accent is the main reason for it. What a waste, because no matter how far in the background he is, you can’t take your eyes off the guy. He has undeniable presence. As for the rest of the film, it’s amazing that so many recognisable names signed on (even if it weren’t a WWE flick), because the script is ridiculous, and the film itself far too drawn out and lacking in any energy whatsoever. It’s just absurd that no one recognises Farrell from the past, just because he has concealed (and boy is that contrived) his accent. Sure, others were sent to do the job back then, but c’mon it’s absurd.
Awful cinematographer Paul Cameron (“Swordfish”, the “Total Recall” remake), meanwhile, strikes again and makes things horrible to look at, too. Horrid, smoky, murky and dark. Would it have killed someone to turn on a fucking light during this movie? It ain’t noir, noir mixed shadow and light. This is all shadow, all the time.
Acting for the most part isn’t a problem, though Noomi Rapace and Isabelle Huppert don’t remotely convince as mother and daughter. Dominic Cooper is actually the only one who disappoints and never convinces in his role (Why are there so many non-Americans in an American film anyway?). Rapace and Farrell (although he broods a bit too much, good as he is at it) are the best thing, especially Rapace, and their characters have an interesting noir vibe about them. The rest of the story, however, is just too silly, though Terrence Howard is clearly much more comfortable as a bad guy than good guy, so I’m glad he has turned heel once more (to use wrestling parlance).
The film would’ve been much better if it just focused on Farrell helping Rapace out, instead of his stupid revenge deal (the former ends up rather superfluous and underdone anyway). Or at least make him an Irishman who kept his accent instead of a Hungarian who lost his accent and was trying to find his way in between an Irish and American accent. I don’t care what reason they give Colin Farrell for stretching his job out, there’s no reason for this film to run so slow and nearly two hours long. At 85-90 minutes, the film would’ve been a great deal more enjoyable. As is, it’s frustratingly unenjoyable. It broods...and that’s all it does, terrific as Noomi Rapace is. Who would’ve thought we’d ever see the day when WWE and Isabelle Huppert would work together? They really shouldn’t have. Kudos to WWE for trying to attach themselves to something resembling a ‘serious’ movie (as opposed to an action movie or comedy), but this one’s not very good.