Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The original title for this movie ‘Mob Rules’ was ‘Tic’ which was somewhat relevant to something that was happening in this movie with the original cover art being presented at the bottom over there. The execs at Lionsgate saw that cover art and heard that title and decided this simply will not do. They need the urban film watching audience to notice this movie and thus we have the name change to ‘Mob Rules’… thankful that they didn’t go with ‘Mobb Roolz’… and we also have a more ‘appropriate’ box cover featuring an ominous looking Black dude double gripping silver plated nines. Now we have a ‘Gangsta Hood’ movie that the urban audience demographic can get with. Too bad ‘Mob Rules’ isn’t a gangster hood movie. It’s actually a British Crime Flick / revenge film with a basis in Shakespearean quotes with a touch of jazz music, and no matter what kind of movie it is, it’s not a very good movie, though we’ve admittedly seen much worse. Just doing my part to keep the Gangsta Hood audience informed when the powers that be try to pull the wool over the eyes of the collective.

Anton (Treva Etienne) and Tyrone (Gary McDonald) are a couple of British born Breaking and Entering types who are in Los Angeles breaking into houses and entering them. Do we seriously need to import B&E criminals over here? Don’t we have enough? Since they’re British they are a little classier than your average B&E thugs since we have to listen to them quiz each other on the source of certain Shakespearean quotes and observe Anton’s extensive knowledge of fine art. But all of that stuff is just something to pass the time because what they are here for is the Big Score.

This big score is represented by C-Note (Lennie James), also British born, with C-Note being a nod to his skills as a jazz musician, I believe, as opposed to his penchant for acquiring Benjamin Franklin’s. C-Note has quite the little empire built up in Los Angeles with his gentlemen’s clubs and his Asian Spas and what not, and as is the case with a cash business, this cash needs to be moved around on a regular basis which is where Anton and Tyrone would like to step in and relieve him of this excess cash.

But it’s more far complex than a simple heist. For starters Anton holds C-Note personally responsible for death of his brother and feels C-Note built his empire on the ill gotten goods that resulted from his brother’s death, facts that his good friend Tyrone knows nothing about. C-Note has his own personal problems as he is sick and tired of what he does for a living and he is quickly getting tired of his attitude filled mistress Chilli (Tina Casciani). C-Note’s accountant Sal (Daniele Favilli) is a heroin addict and owes a lot of people a lot of money, which is not a good trait to have as an accountant, and there’s Chilli’s roommate Sydney (Tish Graves) who is just really, really good looking and will figure into all of this by the time it’s all over.

Just so you know, this movie opened with these people we have just told you about, plus a mean looking bodyguard and a couple of Asian chicks, all looking at each nervously while pointing guns at each other. We’ve been in this situation before and ten times out of ten, it usually doesn’t end well. All it would take is one little ‘Tic’… and then the shooting begins. Oh wait, it’s not called that no more. I mean these people must not know the ‘Mob Rules’. Even though there’s no Mob in this movie.

Directed by Keith Parmer, ‘Mob Rules’ is a British Crime Flick, as we mentioned earlier. British Crime Flicks are identifiable, for one, as there are usually British people in them. In addition there are usually a plethora of characters of ill repute in a British Crime Flick, the people in this crime flick often talk a lot about stuff that doesn’t have much to do with the crimes they commit, there are usually a few characters who aren’t what they seem, there is often a standoff and more times than not, most everybody dies. ‘Mob Rules’ is a British Crime Flick to its very heart. The problem with the British Crime Flick is I don’t think there’s really been a good one since ‘Snatch’ some dozen years or so ago and even Guy Ritchie can’t make a decent one anymore. ‘Mob Rules’ had some potential, mainly due to the strong cast that Keith Parmer was able assemble for his film, but it was undone in part by some of the British Crime Flick side chatter that Parmer wrote for a few of his characters, but mostly because of The Standoff.

Obviously The Standoff is the big payoff in this film since everybody of note in this movie is in the room, pretty much everybody has a gun, all of the misdeeds, deceptions and sleight of hand has been revealed and all we need is some tinder to set it off. Our standoff in this film went on way to long, which gave it the unique quality of steadily becoming less interesting while at the same time slipping from the sublime into the completely ridiculous. I like bullet-time and Asian chicks that take flight as much as the next guy but I’m thinking at this point, all of that probably didn’t belong in this movie.

But ‘Mob Rules’ did look good, had a healthy amount of atmosphere about it, there was plenty of style, Tish Graves is really easy to look at, though I think I mentioned that already, and with the fantastic Lennie James as the main man in your movie the acting pedigree is hard to argue with. A quicker pace, a little less standoff, a touch more substance to go along with the plethora of style, and fewer flying Asian chicks and I’m guessing ‘Mob Rules’ would’ve been a little better off in the long run. That being said, I do believe Keith Parmer might have a future with this movie thing.

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