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Johnny Was

Retired Irish-Republican bomber Johnny Doyle 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 feature is the ace reggae soundtrack assembled by supervisor Adrian Sherwood.

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.

Johnny Was

U.K.-Ireland-Denmark

  • Production: An Affinity Films (U.K.)/Borderline (Ireland)/Nordisk Film (Denmark) production, in association with EFP Reel 1 LLP, the Irish Film Boad, the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission, and Ben Katz Prods. (International sales: Nordisk Film, Copenhagen.) Produced by Patrick FitzSymons, Tom Maguire, Brendan Foley, Lars Hermann, Ira Besserman, Paul Largan. Executive producers, Katz, Paul Hughes, Kim Magnusson, Noemi Ferrer, Foley. Directed by Mark Hammond. Screenplay, Brendan Foley.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Mark Moriarty; editors, Leif Axel Kjeldsen, Anne Osterud; music supervisor, Adrian Sherwood; production designer, Ashleigh Jeffers; costume designer, Maggie Donnelly. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (market), Feb. 14, 2006. English dialogue. Running time: 91 MIN.
  • With: <B>With:</B> Vinnie Jones, Patrick Bergin, Samantha Mumba, Roger Daltrey, Eriq La Salle, Lennox Lewis, Laurence Kinlan, Mark Asante, Wilson Jermaine Heredia.
  • Music By: