Original Gangster will be available on DVD & Digital Download from 5th April and can be pre-ordered here. It’s a British gangster film, directed by Savvas D. Michael, the first in a trilogy of films soon to be released, that features some star performances including an unrecognisable Steve Guttenburg from Police Academy fame.
This story is about Castor (Alex Mills) who has had his family brutally murdered in-front of him as part of a mob killing. He’s saved from execution by Milo (Ian Reddington) who as part of the hit squad refuses to kill a young boy. Castor is left a homeless orphan who has to survive on the streets and so we see how he grows up sleeping rough, scavenging for food and surviving through committing violent crimes. When he robs a drug dealer he ends up getting into difficulty and finds himself on the wrong end of another pointed gun but luckily for him it turns out to be Milo again, the same man that saved his life as a child. Castor sees their meeting as destiny and wants to be a part of his criminal organisation. His involvement brings him to the attention of the big boss Jean-Baptiste Philippe (Steve Guttenberg) which sets him on the path to a steady job in crime. Everything seems to be going well for Castor, he’s got his own place on the gangster’s compound, and he’s ditched his leather jacket for a smart suit but things take a turn for the worse when he gets mixed up with Milo and his attractive wife’s turbulent relationship.
The main story here is about how a child can become involved in crime and how fate plays a part in him becoming a gangster. Alex Mills who plays Castor brings an authentic London accent that is also the narration of the film. It is slow and deliberate, almost childlike reflecting his lack of education and understanding, played to humorous effect like when Milo has to explain to him what a bullet proof vest is, much to his annoyance. Milo is played by Ian Reddington who brings his TV and theatre experience to the fore, like Jean Reno in Leon, but a more aggressive, nasty version, who has fits of rage and treats his wife abusively. Then there are great cameo appearances like Steve Guttenburg as the kingpin gangster Jean-Baptiste Philippe, looking like a hippy Ozzy Osbourne, playing the eccentric psychotic boss and Vas Blackwood providing probably the most irrelevant bartender anecdote ever on film.
It’s got a London core but with an international flavour and it looks to elevate itself from some of the gangster cliches through injecting some interesting concepts and theories in amongst the dialogue such as the beginning quote from Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” It doesn’t all work or maintain any degree of plausibility and is on the whole offensive and insulting like a British grindhouse movie but there is a nice ensemble of characters, who put in likeable performances despite their disagreeability, which includes some hugely misplaced and inappropriate misogyny. The music aims for a more sophisticated cool vibe with an eclectic mix of styles from classical music to country music and drum bass that sounds a little convoluted at times, but as is tradition, when all put together, this is what makes these gangster tributes entertaining escapism.
Film: Original Gangster
Director: Savvas D. Michael
Stars: Alex Mills, Steve Guttenberg, Alex Mills, Adam Deacon, Ian Reddington & Vas Blackwood
Genre: Crime / Thriller
Run time: 1hr 50min