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DVD Release Date: July 9, 2013
In terms of pedigree, “Dead Man Down” sounds like it should be one of the best WWE Studios’ productions. Headlined by A-lister Colin Farrell (“In Bruges”), and joined by Oscar nominees Terrence Howard (“Hustle & Flow”) and Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”), and reuniting the star and director of the Swedish version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Noomi Rapace and Niels Arden Oplev, respectively), that sounds like a pretty good start.
“Dead Man Down” also has an intriguing premise, a pseudo-romance wrapped up in secrets and revenge. Farrell plays Victor, the right-hand man for mobster Alphonse (Howard). Victor seems to specialize in looking sullen and being mysterious. He watches neighbor Beatrice (Rapace), who lives with her mother Valentine Louzon (Huppert). Beatrice watches him too. One night, she sees Victor do something terrible. She records it. This will be important later.
Valentine thinks her daughter should ask Victor out. Beatrice is reluctant, because her face was disfigured in a car accident. Eventually, Beatrice and Victor go out. Both have insecurities and skeletons in their closet. They seem to form a bond through their pain. However, Beatrice has ulterior motives.
Beatrice saw and recorded Victor killing someone in his apartment, and she uses this as blackmail. She wants Victor to kill the man responsible for her car accident, which has left her in unending pain. This is a really good idea on paper.
Unfortunately, the screenplay by J.H. Wyman (“The Mexican”) doesn’t fully develop the revenge angle, and instead turns it into a more typical action/romance film with an unfortunately awful third act. Farrell and Rapace give solid performances, but they never really seem to be on the same page, and their character arcs don’t really match what was set up in the early stages of the film. Howard could play this type of role in his sleep, and Huppert is completely wasted in her role. Also, I generally enjoy seeing WWE Superstars’ performances in these films, but Stu Bennett (a.k.a. Wade Barrett/King Barrett/Bad News Barrett) is barely even present here.
Oplev does a fine job with the action sequences, but so much of “Dead Man Down” is just a slog to get through and it doesn’t deliver on the promise of the first act. The premise, director, and the cast should’ve led to something better.
Tags: Colin Farrell, Dead Man Down, Noomi Rapace, Wade Barrett, wwe studios