Before I begin this review, let’s start by saying that the DVD cover of the first installment of this franchise bore the words “The Raid Meets Die Hard” at the top. The film was neither in any way, and filled with so many hilariously bad moments you could almost be forgiven for thinking that the filmmakers did it on purpose.
But anyone with a brain, or has watched some actual, proper action films, knows that they didn’t. It was a terrible, embarrassing film, and I say that fully knowing that some of my best, very talented friends worked on it. A job’s a job.
So, here comes part 2, Downing Street Siege, which I just had to see because I clearly enjoy punishing myself too much.
I said He Who Dares was awful. Well Downing Street Siege is much, much worse. This actually makes the film much funnier to watch. Again, this is highly unlikely to be on purpose.
There is no way I can pretend to review this like it is a coherent film, because it literally makes no sense from scene to scene, so it’s best to break it down into some of the elements of filmmaking.
- Production Values. The IMDB claims that the budget of this film is an estimated $3,000,000. This is clearly a lie. If more than £150,000 was spent on it I’d be amazed, and then give everyone involved a stern telling off. Everything in this film looks cheap and rushed. EVERYTHING.
- Performances. Tom Benedict Knight actually has a strong look, and you can tell he works hard on his physique, but he’s given very little to do here. He walks around his scenes, which mostly involve killing unconvincing looking Henchmen, looking like he’s trying to find a way out of the film. Most of the support cast is okay but they aren’t helped by a poor script and lazy, lackluster direction.
- Action Scenes. Absolutely woeful. Dull, lumpen fight choreography, which is poorly shot and badly edited. Most of the people fighting look highly inexperienced and confused during these sequences. And, for those who know, nobody “sells” very well. Almost nobody holds guns like they know what they are doing.
- Special Effects. The worst kind of cheap CGI for muzzle flashes and blood.
- Script. Meaningless to go into detail here. None of it makes sense. None of the dialogue is good. I’m sure the actors did the best with what they had.
- Cinematography and Editing. Particularly flat, unimaginative camerawork and lighting. The editing makes the film look like cheap TV and is littered with “avid farts” – as in weird flashing shots for no reason. There’s some amazing aerial cinematography, but of course it’s stock footage the producers would have bought and used in their films, which is fair enough.
- Music. All crappy library music which plays incessantly and is at the same volume as everything else happening, much like in the first film, which renders the rest of the sound design pointless.
- Costume and props. The military uniform Knight is wearing is incorrect, but who cares?
- I’m starting to lose the will to live.
- This film has recently gone up to 3.0 as rated on the IMDB. That should tell you as much as you need to know.
- There is a bizarre scene with a Stripper on a bus, who then gets killed. That may intrigue you. Don’t let it.
- The lead villain, who is chubby, makes a load of fat jokes about another character. There’s no irony in this, the actor who plays this part, who is also one of the producers, doesn’t understand that him making fat jokes about someone else means he deserves much worse in return.
So in summary then, don’t give these people your money, and spend your valuable time watching another, much better film. To put this in context, think of your least favourite film of all time. Now times that by 10. Now, realize that if you watch Downing Street Siege, it is worse than that. Avoid.
(that star is solely for unintentional humour)
He Who Dares: Downing Street Siege is released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK on 5th January by Metrodome.