Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Let’s just start out by saying that claiming this movie to be a ‘Sin City’ style noir and even basing the cover art on ‘Sin City’ wasn’t doing this movie ‘Jack Said’ any favors. At all. The good thing about this is that this movie is so un-Sin City like that you will forget any reference to Sin City after about ten or so minutes in, following the graphic novel-esque themed opening credits, which allows this particular movie to rise or fall on its own merits, merits of which unfortunately for us consisted mostly of failure.

As our movie opens Jack (Simon Phillips), bloodied and beaten, has the evil but crazy hot Natalie (Ashlie Walker) tied up in a chair preparing, it would seem, to end the hotties life. Why would Jack want to do this? Well… it’s a little complicated. Overly so.

To cut to the chase Jack is a cop working deep undercover to bring down the criminal enterprise of a man we will only know as the Guv’nor. In this organization Jack is a lower level thug working under the slimy Nathan (Danny Dyer) who is called before this Guv’nor for some reason or another. Danny proceeds to steal a sliver case from The Governor which his daughter, the afore mentioned Natalie, desperately wants. What is in this case? Well, just think ‘Pulp Fiction’ which is another way of informing you that its contests will not become known to us.

Now after Nathan does this thing he has Jack escort his half sister Erin (Rita Ramnani) to the opera. Why? Who knows. But not surprisingly love will follow for Jack who will look out for Erin while Nathan is on the run from everybody. Now Jack is telling us this story while Natalie is chained up in this warehouse so we already know a lot of the stuff that’s going to happen before it actually happens because Jack is telling us its going to happen.

Jack is also at odds with his superiors, his cop superiors that is, because they are keeping him completely in the dark about a lot of stuff that they are doing to achieve their goals, whatever that goal may be. So the question would be why does Jack have Natalie tied up in a warehouse preparing to kill her? Well, we already know the answer to this one. There are a bunch of other questions that I don’t know the answer to but none of those will be forthcoming. Or if they were it went completely over my head which isn’t out of the realm of reality.

The first thing I didn’t care for in this movie ‘Jack Said’ was directors Lee Basannavar and Michael Tchoubouroff’s choice of narrative style. By having Jack pretty much forecast everything that’s going to happen in the movie there was very little suspense when these things do happen. I think this is supposed to be based on a graphic novel and perhaps this is the way the book unfolds but here it just didn’t work for me. Truth be told a lot of things didn’t work for me in this movie. I don’t think it worked as a noir thriller considering the dialog wasn’t working properly and it didn’t have that hard boiled crime thriller feel to it in addition to the look of the movie being a little off. I mean it takes more than just de-saturating your colors to zero get that noir look to your film. The look was more inconsistent than anything else because sometimes the film looked fine but other times it just looked washed out. Star Jason Phillips also didn’t have that tough guy, noir feel to his character down either. He seems to be a capable actor, just not right for the role of a tortured criminal / cop. For comparison there was another failed stab at noir in the American film ‘Give ‘em Hell Malone’ which suffered from a lot of the same maladies that this one suffers from BUT Thomas Jane did pull off the character. While actress Ashlie Walker was mighty easy to look at… mighty easy… again, there’s not much about the girl that screams ‘femme fatale’. Pernicious brat in need of a spanking? Yeah, that was her, though we will say that she was more femme fatale than Jason Phillips was tortured badass. Both Danny Dyer and Terry Stone as a character called ‘The Fixer’ were fine while criminally underused, but they were simply doing what we’ve trusted these actors to do in numerous similar roles so this was to be expected.

But what really didn’t help ‘Jack Said’ was the story itself which had a ton of characters, most of which led to nowhere, an equal amount of loose fitting plot points, some of which were simply left dangling in the wind and an overall tone of confusion which really wasn’t necessary considering the style of story our filmmakers were telling. There was a love story jammed in that added little to the tale and wasn’t presented well enough to be effective when it all eventually went to hell, and there was the completely daffy conclusion which cleared up next to nothing and only opened up more unnecessary confusion.

Now I guess I could go back and watch the movie prior to this one in ‘Jack Says’ which might clear up a thing or two, which I just may do despite the fact I really, really didn’t like this movie. Thing is this the kind of movie I like to watch even though I didn’t care for it, and since there’s a third one coming in the not to distant future, there’s a damn good chance I’m gonna watch that as well. No, from my vantage point ‘Jack Said’ succeeded at almost nothing it was setting out to accomplish but I will still watch the next one and hope for the better.

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