Occasional, Strong (2002) Poster

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Well directed but slight and too much `Lock, Stock' influenced
bob the moo9 February 2003
A man signs up as a driver for a group of criminals on a dangerous job. On the way to the hit the man hears the lottery numbers and realises he's got the winning ticket on him. However the job goes badly and the lottery ticket is collected as litter by a street cleaner. The leader of the gang goes after the cleaner while on a picnic with his daughter to get the ticket back.

I have seen many films inspired by the recent success of Guy Ritchie's British gangster films. Some have just been homage's and have gone on to do their own thing while others have been rip-offs pure and simple. This film at first appeared to be just another brash attempt to copy the genre but actually just used the same sort of visual style to work with.

As such though it doesn't feel like it's own film. Instead it feels like a trailer or a scene from another film. The opening 5 minutes encompassing some tough talk, humour and violence just felt like it could have been lifted from any British gangster film. The second half of the film was strange - funny but plot-wise very unlikely and I found myself distracted by the `yes, but.' statements in my head. However it is amusing and the tough gangster talk is always passable in even a lame film. The second half does feel like too much of a change of pace and was unlikely but is still funny enough.

The acting on the whole is the `tough talk, ugly sneer' school of acting and is good enough to get by. However the acting in the second half of the film is too rose tinted - with father and daughter being too happy and perfect together - frolicking in the park etc. It didn't wash as they were too contrasted against the film's gritty opening.

Overall this film suffered from being very slight. The climatic shoot out happens several minutes into the film and just leaves a very unlikely and slightly dull comic finish to what many will have expected to be a tough gangster short. That said the direction is quite cool (if a little clichéd) and the short feels very polished and professional.
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