Monday, June 24, 2024

A Gangster’s Kiss, Co-Starring John Hannah & Patsy Kensit

Blokey Jack is making a bigger mistake than Shelley Long when he decides to leave his EastEnders-like TV series to make movies. Planning to appear in a gangster film, he starts researching the role by shadowing his old school pal Danny, who works as an enforcer for his crime-boss uncle, Don. What could wrong? Judging from the body they are burying in the in media res prologue, plenty. There is no shortage of mayhem but the comedy is not so funny in Ray Burdis’s A Gangster’s Kiss, which releases today in some markets on VOD.

This will be the worst internship ever. Old Jack was just supposed to keep his head down and his mouth shut. Unfortunately, Mus, one of three sort of Turkish brothers supplying drugs to Don’s operation, recognizes Jack and wants to strike up a friendship with the minor celebrity. The actor tries to decline his advances diplomatically, but fails spectacularly. Suddenly, a gang war threatens to erupt in London—and it will mostly be his fault.

There is no question much of the film was cast in hopes of appealing to late-1980s/early-1990s nostalgia. There is Patsy Kensit (
Lethal Weapon 2, Absolute Beginners) appearing as Don’s lawyer, Crassus, whose tough-luck counsel seems more likely to inspire turning state’s evidence than maintaining the code of silence.

John Hannah (
Four Weddings and a Funeral) bizarrely plays Mus’s brother Mem, who sports an eye-patch, peg leg, and a hook for a hand. At least Martin Kemp (The Krays and Spandau Ballet videos) understands how to ham it up without overindulging in schtick as cranky Uncle Don.

Watching Charlie Clapham mug and squirm his way through the film is a pretty painful experience. Anyone would be hard-pressed to elevate this material, but he really falls flat. Perhaps Vas Blackwood is the only cast-member who lands his gags to any extent as Mus.

Nostalgia can be a temptation, but in this case, it should be resisted. In many respects,
A Gangster’s Kiss is like the forgettable Renegades. It ensembled a cast featuring many familiar faces, whom my generation holds in very degrees of affection, but saddles them with an embarrassingly clunky script. Indeed, the screenplay, co-written by Burdis and co-star Michael Head (Ray, Uncle’s Don more psychotic lieutenant), is where the problems really start and end. Not recommended, A Gangster’s Kiss releases on VOD today (6/24) in some markets.