Borrowing heavily from "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," John Bradshaw's "Triggermen," a late, lame entry in the comic assassin genre, offers up a couple of two-bit limey con artists passing as hit men, then throws in the client and the target of the hit, plus the <I>real</I> hit men in a patchwork of mechanically strung-together encounters.

Borrowing heavily from “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” John Bradshaw’s “Triggermen,” a late, lame entry in the comic assassin genre, offers up a couple of two-bit limey con artists passing as hit men, then throws in the client and the target of the hit, plus the real hit men in a patchwork of mechanically strung-together encounters, stone washed to bleak colorless uniformity. Busy rather than energetic, tedious rather than complex, pic, lacking equally in humor and action, looks headed directly to home vid and cable.

Dimwit Brits (Neil Morrisey, Adrian Dunbar) are left high and dry in a Chicago fleabag after their undefined Stateside scam fails. One of them makes off with an attache case containing money and a hotel room key meant for a couple of out-of-town triggermen. Since the middleman who made the arrangements has been eliminated, they’re treated like the real McCoys.

Meanwhile, the genuine articles (Donny Wahlberg, MichaelRappaport), confident young professionals on motorcycles, hang around playing solitaire and, in the case of Wahlberg, falling in love. He woos the daughter of a gangster (Claire Forlani). Unbeknownst to Wahlberg, her father is his intended victim.

There’s also a psycho killer named “Boots” who goes around rubbing out perfectly inoffensive people just off-screen, ostensibly to prove that there are “good” killers and “bad.” In the highly relative moral scheme of a film like this one, the cool pros and comic limey wannabes are supposed to come off as comparatively likeable. On the other hand, you can tell Boots is bad because, although he has a big part, he’s pretty low down on the cast list.

“Action” consists of various factions milling around a mod luxury hotel getting drunk and waiting for someone to make a move. The only note that rings true is the aggrieved betrayal felt by one of the Brits when his more sensible partner opts to go straight and marry perky and pregnant g.f. (Amanda Plummer). It’s hardly surprising that, when Wahlberg rides into the sunset to enjoy his girl and his ill-gotten gains, the left-behind Brit hooks up with the similarly left-behind Rappaport to form a new primal male duo.

Cast is fine but generally wasted. Rappaport at least gets to bemoan his existential inaction with his usual scene-stealing motor-mouth aggravation.

Triggermen

Canada

Production

A First Look Media presentation in association with International West Pictures and Now Entertainment Group of a Trimuse Entertainment/Gemini Film production. Produced by Deborah Kiss, Sabine Mueller, Mark Thomas. Executive producers, John Gillespie, Klaus Rettig, Gerhard Schmidt. Co-producers, Tony Johnston, Paul Weber. Directed by John Bradshaw. Screenplay, Tony Johnston.

Crew

Camera (color), Barry Stone; editor, Lisa Grootenboer; music, Terence M. Gowan, Blair Packham; music supervisors, Ron Proulx, Chris Robinson; production designer, Tim Boyd; costume designer, Kimberly Ann Rush; associate producers, Hans W. Pauscj, Michael Sannella; casting, Paul Weber, Brian Levy. Reviewed at Fort Lauderdale Film Festival (competing), Nov. 5, 2002. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Donnie Wahlberg, Neil Morrisey, Adrian Dunbar, Claire Forlani, Amanda Plummer, Michael Rappaport, Saul Rubinek, Pete Postlethwaite.
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