Age of Kill
With his turn as Reggie Kray in 1990’s The Krays, Martin Kemp earned a place in the history of British crime cinema. With Age of Kill he makes a return to a genre that’s struggled in more recent times. With the pick of the acting talent – Daniel Craig, Tom Hardy, and even Jason Statham – poached by Hollywood, the likes of Danny Dyer and Vinnie Jones have carved their own niche, with “straight-to-DVD” the order of the day ever since Guy Ritchie fell from favour in the early 2000s.
As its James Bond-style opening title sequence attests, Age of Kill has ambitions to bolster the flagging scene. Sadly, that sequence is easily the most expensive looking part of the film, and a low-budget feel to the effects, acting, and writing scuppers any hope of that ambition being achieved.
The plot follows Kemp’s ex-secret service sniper Sam Blake, brought out of forced retirement when a masked psychopath kidnaps his daughter (played by Danny Dyer’s daughter, Dani). Consequently, he is blackmailed into picking off members of a fascist fringe political party headed by Roy Dixon (Nick Moran). It’s a hokey caper, which is compromised from the outset in terms of real tension and conflict when the supposedly legendary, badass leading man blindly follows the villain’s every utterance rather than using his “very particular set of skills” to counteract.
Anouska Mond’s D.I. Saddiq is tasked with the police response to the trail of destruction Blake leaves behind. As perhaps the biggest cliché in a cast of clichéd characters, she is also saddled with the most clunky, hackneyed lines, making for a jarringly wooden performance. With the lower end of the soap opera acting spectrum being the main source of supporting talent, it’s not the only one. There’s also a toe-curling cameo from lads’ mag pin-up Lucy Pinder, and a baddy (with a voice aiming for the Saw franchise’s “Jigsaw” but landing in laryngitis territory) who hams it up and pontificates at such length through every telephone conversation as to leave one seeking earplugs.
As a film to pick apart with a group of merry friends in Mystery Science Theater 3000 fashion, there is some knockabout potential here. That aside, all but the staunchest fans of the cockney-tough-guy, sub-standard sub-genre of action thrillers should probably steer clear.
Age of Kill is released nationwide on 15th June 2015.
Watch the trailer for Age of Kill here: