Lava
Mad dog. Smiggy (Tucker) plots his next move...
dir-scr Joe Tucker
with Joe Tucker, James Holmes, Nicola Stapleton, Grahame Fox, Mark Leadbetter, Tameka Empson, Dennis Titus, Johann Myers, Harry Iggulden, Tyler Garni, Tom Bell, Leslie Grantham
release UK 25.Jan.02
01/UK 1h35

2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
hot hot hot With a sense of humour that's just a bit too dark, writer-director Tucker shows us the other side of Notting Hill in this bleak London crime comedy. It's Carnival time and Darrel (Fox) has just been released from jail after he beat up and permanently debilitated Stevie (Iggulden). Now Stevie's simpleton brother Philip (Holmes) teams with his gonzo friend Smiggy (Tucker) to get revenge. But when they get to Darrel's flat, his single-mum fiancee (Stapleton) says he's not there. And while they wait for him to arrive, they have to cope with an increasingly annoying stream of visitors.

There's a bright, kinetic sense of style to the film, and there are some very funny moments in the early sections, as the elements begin to come together. Then it seems to cross a line into Tarantino territory, as there's more and more shouting and shooting ... and the bodies begin to pile up. Here's where problems set in, because the constant death and destruction ceases to be funny as it gets more and more horrific. But the film tries to maintain its comic tone right to the bitter end. It simply doesn't work. There's not enough Carnival to set the scene; it's merely shown in cutaways and never integrated into the story. The acting gets increasingly uneven--solid performances mixed with broad cartoon characters--and the constant slapstick never gels with the guns and drugs carnage, most of which is genuinely horrible.
strong violence, language, themes, drugs cert 18 30.Oct.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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