Retired Irish-Republican bomber Johnny Doyle (Vinnie Jones) gets back into trouble when a former associate shows up at his door and riles his gangster neighbors downstairs in the decidedly dodgy drama “Johnny Was.” Best thing about this debut feature for helmer Mark Hammond is the ace reggae soundtrack assembled by supervisor Adrian Sherwood. That, plus presence of ex-footballer Jones and boxer Lennox Lewis in cast, might attract male auds on ancillary, but it’s hard to imagine “Johnny Was” will draw much theatrical attention outside co-producing country Northern Ireland.
Haunted by memories of a bombing, Johnny has been holed up in a Brixton, London, flat, living beneath pirate DJ Ras (Lewis) and above drug-dealer Julius (La Salle). When Johnny’s former-comrade Flynn (Bergin) shows up after breaking out of jail, the whole house is thrown into an uproar. Script clunks along with schematic plotting. Pic tries gamely to create claustrophobic atmosphere by confining action to sets, but then absurdly stages climactic shootout in “Brixton” tube station, obviously a Northern Irish train station, which wouldn’t fool any Londoner. Tech credits are weak.