A gangster film set in London with Vinnie Jones? Haven’t we seen this before in Lock Stock and Snatch? Yes, but the difference this time is that instead of playing a hardened criminal, he’s playing a hardened police detective in Marcus Warren’s The Heavy.
This convoluted mess of a movie has upper class gangsters, corrupt cops, scheming politicians and sentimental hitmen, none of which come close to entertaining us. Gary Stretch plays Mitchell ‘Boots’ Mason, a clock making ex-con who’s still mourning the loss of his daughter who died while he was banged up. Boots works as a debt collector for fancy gangster/antiques dealer Mr. Anawalt (Stephen Rea) and his gormless assistant Rubin (Lee Ryan) who give him a contract to assassinate a high profile political figure – Boots’ brother Christian.
Detective Dunn (Jones) is sniffing around the case looking for any excuse to get revenge on Boots for a particularly nasty scar he once gave him.
It sounds simple enough but the script is actually bogged down with all manner of unnecessary crap, Sadie Frost as Boots’ local bar owner, for example. I get a sense that a genuine effort went into the script but it’s far too muddled, uninspired and unsure of what genre it is. It crams gangster sensibilities, family drama and political suspense into one place with none of these themes coming out on top.
The acting is mostly terrible with Adrian Paul playing Christian as some kind of wooden doll that only has the ability to move his eyebrows and spout dialogue like a broken fountain.
In his first onscreen movie role, Lee Ryan plays Rubin like a poor man’s Danny Dyer and Gary Stretch seems to have only two facial expressions: squinty and slightly less squinty. Vinnie Jones plays the same hardman he always does but this time he does it with a beard.
Stephen Rea does a fine job, lending credibility to the movie while Christopher Lee randomly turns up as Boots’ father. It’s an odd choice but it’s always nice to see these guys on screen, even if they’ll regret choosing to do this movie later on. The one thing this film has going for is it is that it at least looks fairly nice. The camerawork, the choice of locations and the cinematography all come together well but it’s not enough to validate the whole movie.
The Heavy is overly complicated with poor casting and poorer performances, save your money and rent Lock, Stock again.