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Heavy, The


Stars: Gary Stretch, Shannon Sossamon, Sadie Frost, Stephen Rea, Vinnie Jones, Adrian Paul, Jean Marsh, Geoff Bell, Christopher Lee, Lee Ryan, Emma Linley

Director: Marc Warren

Yet another failed attempt at stardom from ex-boxer Stretch, who started trying as far back as 1994 with Final Combination. Stretch, whose regional vowels are alarmingly at odds wuth the cultured tones of Christopher Lee, who portrays his father, plays strongarm man for big-time crime lord Anawalt (Rea), who fronts as an antiques dealer.

But Stretch has a sensitive side: he mends clocks as well as clocking men. This is the kind of role that would suit Steven Seagal, although the production values here would hardly be to Seagal's liking.

'Trouble seems to follow me around,' growls Stretch, which is hardly surprising given his occupation. Hot on his trail is a sadistic and probably corrupt detective (Jones), who savagely beats interviewees, and may be in collusion with Stretch's brother (Paul), an MP who aspires to be PM, but must persuade Stretch (who he had had sent to prison) to contribute a bone marrow transplant to save his life. 'The process isn't easy,' says the doctor. 'In fact it's excruciatingly painful.' Whatever happened to anasthetics?

Alas, the plot makes no sense, and seems to exist merely as a vehicle for monosyllabic conversations and violent confrontations: towards the end, Stretch and Jones have a hectic shoot-out at close range, expending dozens of bullets without doing more than injure each other.

Director Warren encourages pantomine performances from his cast: Lee's is a career-worst, Marsh is unintentionally hilarious as his wife. Even the usually reliable Rea is poor, while heroine Sossamon grapples with such gems as 'No children any more? That's intense!' And Paul is so bad he makes Jones look good in their one scene together. Frost, though, is probably worst of all as the owner of Stretch's local bar.

Even the action isn't that convincing, but, hey, if you fancy amateur night at the movies...

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Kaleidoscope. Colour.
97 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 12 Apr 2010