Blu-Ray Review: Berlin Job

Is it possible to ape Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and still manage to wind up being a waste of time? Because that’s what Berlin Job, a British crime import, manages to do.

Renamed for America, as it was originally released as St. George’s Day, Berlin Job is fairly predictable. Mickey (Frank Harper) and Ray (Craig Fairbrass) are a pair of career criminals trying to get out of the game. Trying to buy drugs from the Russian mob, they lose the shipment and owe big money to some very unsavory people. So they opt to pay their debts with a heist on St. George’s Day while the English and British national soccer teams play in Berlin.

The film’s problems start and end with its script. Frank Harper, best known as Dog in Lock, Stock, has crafted a script with all the clich├ęs of a crime film, and all the stock characters, but none of the things that actually make a heist film interesting. This is a stock crime film, assembled from pieces out of a screenwriter’s guide, and nothing more.

It’s a shame because there’s so much potential in this.

There’s enough here that you can see that Berlin Job needed a lot more work before production began to really turn it into something special. The problem is that Frank Harper is doing so much, including writing and directing as well as starring, that it doesn’t feel like he had anyone to tell him what he was doing wrong. That’s the problem many creative people have when making a film if they’re wearing many hats; it’s a problem here as there’s no one to tell Harper the director, Harper the writer and Harper the actor that they aren’t on the same page.

An EPK making-of featurette and the trailer are included.

Flat Iron presents . Directed by Frank Harper. Written by Frank Harper and Urs Buehler. Starring Frank Harper, Craig Fairbrass, Charles Dance, Vincent Regan, Dexter Fletcher. Running time: 109 minutes. Rated R. Released: October 8, 2013.