Marc Price/ UK/ 2018/ 100 mins
Available on DVD, Blu-Ray & Digital Download from Mon 28 Jan 2019
Film shoots can be a nightmare. When you’re not dealing with alcoholic Prima-Donna actors, you’ve got sassy sound techs larking around, lighting issues, and the ineptitude of runners who can’t follow basic instructions. All you want to do, is get those last few essential pick-up shots in a condemned building the night before it gets demolished. Certainly the last thing you need is a gangland execution to take place next door, and said hoodlums to try to execute the entire crew in a hail of bullets and kung-fu.
Such is the basic concept of Nightshooters, a direct to home media effort from writer-director, Marc Price; best known for creating the ultra low-budget indie horror film, Colin. Nightshooters takes that same level of enthusiasm, and practical guerrilla film making know-how, applying it to this entertainingly daft hodgepodge of action-comedy and crime Brit-flick. The result of which is often as varied in quality as the genres and styles it apes.
Not that Nightshooters isn’t entertaining. There are undeniable moments of laugh-out-loud comedy, as well as some gleefully silly bursts of extreme gore and violence. Practically every moment that John-Paul Ly is onscreen as the stuntman Donnie, is electric. He shows a Hollywood-tier level of both martial arts prowess, and action choreography. Curiously, in the film’s quieter moments, he plays Donnie somewhat subdued, awkward and shy. It’s a character trait that is neither properly followed up, or explained, but hints at either an excised plot line, or a missed opportunity.
Which is another aspect of the film that grates somewhat. That lack of any real form of characterisation, or reason to care about the people in this situation. Shameless‘s Nicky Evans appears to be there solely to provide the required moments of semi-serious acting and man-some tears; yet the rest of the cast seem to each have been given different instructions as to what genre and tone of film they are in. With most of the Richard Sandling‘s group of generic movie bad-guys, and Adam McNab‘s film crew playing up every scene and line reading like this is a Saturday Night Live parody of an early Guy Ritchie film.
None of this would be a real issue if the dialogue wasn’t quite so painfully clunky, and most of the conversation scenes overwritten, and overlong. Meaning that between the moments of genuinely good comedy, and accomplished kung-fu, the film drags quite a bit and feels far longer than the 100 minutes it lasts.
That said, this clearly was a labour of love made for a pittance, and yet still manages to work in a series of nice little homages & visual references to films like Die Hard, The Raid, and John Wick. It has its share of moments, and isn’t without merit. It’s a pretty forgettable but fun film that will fill a gap of an evening, if you love action-cinema and fancy a giggle with your friends over a couple of drinks.