Villain offers nothing we haven’t seen before, but that wouldn’t be a problem if its presentation of that familiar material were more involving. Instead, this is another of those movies in which a reformed criminal is interrupted in his attempt to offer something useful to society and must take violent action against those who might do the same to him and everyone he loves. Screenwriters George Russo and Greg Hall do not deviate for one moment from the type of structure we might assume would be used to tell this story: after a brief prologue that sets up the conflict, we are presented with the injection of the plot and a climactic confrontation.

Brothers Eddie (Craig Fairbrass) and Sean (Russo) own a local pub that has been in the red since Eddie was sentenced to 10 years in prison for some unspoken crime. We know that he was deep into the local drug scene, especially as Sean has continued that work, acting as mule for crime boss Roy (Robert Glenister) and his loyal lieutenant and younger brother Johnny (a head-splittingly vulgar Tomi May). It seems that Sean misplaced three kilos of product being run by Roy and Johnny, but as he maintains to his older brother, he believes he was tailed by the pair and set up from the start.

Whatever happened, the burden of payback falls on Sean, who owes a high five-figure number. Eddie wants no part in any of this, having left prison with the intention of going straight. He wants to reconnect with his estranged daughter Chloe (Izuka Hoyle), to run the pub legitimately (even going so far as to cancel the tabs for regular customers in favor of upfront payment) and generally to live a peaceful life away from Sean and his cokehead girlfriend Rikki (Eloise Lovell Anderson). When Sean’s bad dealings cause trouble for Eddie, though, he feels obligated to handle it as the older brother. That makes Eddie a frustratingly inconsistent protagonist.

Take an encounter with Freddie (Michael John Treanor), a boy scout for Roy, which begins with Eddie making a pretty reasonable request: to pay his tab in full. It ends, though, with Eddie pulling out a hammer, beating the man and his accomplice to a pulp and then biting Freddie’s nose off. The sudden explosion of violence is really the film’s first attempt to tell us it’s not messing around with its vision of these business dealings. The problem is that Eddie, who claims to want to escape this life, upon his first encounter with a brick wall decides to answer it with tooth and nail (well, hammer). Eddie is simply too contradictory, too prone to violence and otherwise too much of a blank slate to be sympathetic.

That makes it difficult to react with more than a disinterested shrug to anything Villain has in store. Fairbrass is a decent enough actor to pull off both the brawny gangster act and the material that requires a little more out of him, and to director Philip Barantini’s credit, the character has a bit more to him than just intimidating poses. Russo and Hall have no interest in exploring any of those nuances, if indeed they exist. The characters receive the barest minimum of development, the situations are entirely generic, and the violence is both ugly and predictable. All that’s left is to cross items off a list of clichés.

  • aTypical Wednesday

    This perfectly dreadful comedy-drama hybrid tries too hard to be too many different movies…
  • Holy Hell! Wonder Boys Turns 20

    A special movie in which a wandering soul tests our ability to sympathize with a protagoni…
  • StarDog and TurboCat

    A garden-variety, adventure-flavored buddy comedy with little to set it apart from its con…
  • Welcome to Chechnya

    Concentrates on the precarious, threatened lives of the survivors and the heroic acts of t…
  • Followed

    A horror film that doesn’t go nearly far enough. …
  • Skyman

    The writer and co-director of The Blair Witch Project, has returned to the genre he helped…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

aTypical Wednesday

This perfectly dreadful comedy-drama hybrid tries too hard to be too many different movies…