American-Irish hero takes on the mafia
KILL THE IRISHMAN Crime drama. Starring Ray Stevenson, Vinnie Jones, John Nardi, Christopher Walken >Mark Evans
OKAY, at times it feels like you're watching a remake of GoodFellas, but Kill the Irishman is a cut above your typical straight-to-DVD effort.
A rags-to-riches tale, it's loosely based on the real-life story of Irish-American gangster Danny Greene. What's astonishing is that a lot of what it details -- one stubborn Paddy taking on the might of the Mafia -- is actually true.
Played well by Ray Stevenson, it opens with Danny as a dock worker in the late '60s toiling on the ships of Cleveland docks in an industry dominated by Mob-ruled unions.
Danny, the hero of the downtrodden workers, makes the union boss an offer he can't refuse -- quit or be shot.
Soon he rises up the ranks of the union and swiftly becomes corrupted himself. After being found out, he crosses the line into outright criminality and forms his own mob, which includes an Irish-Lithuanian-American, played by Vinnie Jones with a terrible accent.
Soon he moves on to bigger things and teams up with local Mafia boss John Nardi (Law & Order's Vincent D'Onforio) and later falls under the wing of mob veteran Shondor Birns (Christopher Walken). But when a deal with the New York Mafia turns sour, Danny is told to pay up to cover the losses.
Beleiving himself to be a Celtic warrior, he tells them where to stick their demand -- and soon becomes public enemy number one to the wiseguys. Car bombs galore are set to try to take him out, but he's seemingly indestructible. Soon he and his team declare warfare on the local mob, and bring it to its knees.
Some of the acting is a bit camped-up at times, and every Mafia cliche is used, but it's a ripping yarn all the same.
dvd extras: Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of an Irishman, a TV documentary about the real man behind the movie, with footage from Cleveland in the 1970s. Theatical trailer also included.