Posted on 3/08/13 02:49 AM
WWE Films and Niels Arden Oplev ( director of the Swedish original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) is one of those unexpected collaborations that feel so crazy ... they might actually work. After seeing the film, I get this image in my mind that somewhere around halfway we started witnessing a derailment of the film that Niels couldn't possibly have wanted to make. I'm not blaming WWE Studios though as Wade Barrett's role as a minor henchman fits naturally unlike their multiple movies with wrestler leading stars. I don't know which production company started mouthing off changes for a more mainstream appeal but they should be fired and sacked out of Hollywood. Dead Man Down has all the elements of a modern twisted revenge love story classic but squanders it all in its second half for cliches, heroics , and stale predictable outcomes.
Dead Man Down instantly hooks you by literally tossing the viewer right into the mystery. The exposition is everything I expected from the man that adapted The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, featuring two emotionally damaged leads that are drawn together by a common motive; revenge. For about 60% of the film you're hooked on the interesting characters , plot elements , and twisted style until someone seemingly flicks a switch and says abandon creativity and slowly devolve everything that's making this film fantastic into another typical action film.
It really is a shame because Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace absolutely steal the attention and grip you into every scene they're in with amazing chemistry on screen. Terrence Howard is a weak link however but even he passes by as a villain. To give you an idea of how much story goes out the window, a crucial plot twist that demands a flashback sequence gets told in over about 3 linesof conversational dialogue leaving you desiring that flashback for the emotional kick that the movie never really achieves. In summary though , nothing really saves the final 1/3rd where Niels seemingly just gave up constructing anything creative. When it's good though , it's damn good.