Pleasure Island (2015)
Starring: Ian Sharp, Gina Bramhill, Rick Warden, Nicholas Day, Michael J. Jackson
Director: Mike Doxford
A mysterious former soldier named Dean returns home from service abroad, looking to catch up with his childhood friend, Jess, but finds her working in a seedy pole dancing club and under the thumb of drug dealing, Hawaiian shirt sporting thug, Connor, played by Band of Brothers’ Rick Warden in an excellent, hard-faced performance. When Dean clumsily tries to get Jess out of the grasp of Connor and his small-town criminal pals, things eventually spiral out of control, with the situation further complicated by the fact that Dean’s father (and his beloved pigeons) is also mixed up in the gang’s drug dealing antics. When things come to a head, Dean finishes up taking a shotgun to the bad guys and dispensing some well-deserved capital punishment personally.
I was hoping for something like “Dead Man’s Shoes” meets “Death Sentence” with this one. It didn’t really deliver anything like that. The truth is I was waiting and waiting for Dean to lose his shit at which point I had expected the body count to start rising exponentially. But it never really happened. Every time I thought it was going to get going, they seemed to string it out for a bit longer, until pretty much all of the action finally takes place in the last few scenes. To be fair though, I did enjoy it. There’s a certain sense of satisfaction that can only be derived from watching a bad guy unwillingly redecorate the inside of a small upstairs flat with the contents of his abdomen blasted across the wall by a shotgun shell at point blank range.
The movie has been lovingly filmed and well acted and the music was pretty good in my opinion. I liked Ian Sharp’s mostly softly spoken performance. I say mostly softly spoken – not so much when he’s repeatedly smashing somebody’s face against a desk and shouting “Where does he live?!” in a thick northern accent, before taking the fight directly to the home of the grim faced, and very believable gang boss, Miles, who happens to be in the middle of a children’s birthday party when Dean arrives on the doorstep of his country mansion wanting to have a word. It’s interesting to see Dean’s reaction when Miles’ posh-totty wife begs him to spare the bastard.
It’s a little drawn out, with one or two scenes that could’ve been trimmed or even left on the cutting room floor. And it could have done with a lot more action if you ask me – there was the potential for many more shitheads to get a good kicking along the way. I also felt the trailer promised more action than the film actually delivers. But hell, something charmed me about this movie, possibly because it was filmed in my hometown of Grimsby and in the nearby seaside resort of Cleethorpes, the locations being exploited so well that they almost become a character in their own right. I was also moved by the story, which means a lot to me. Better than some noisy CGI shit that just gets on your nerves. I’m going to be generous and say 7 out of 10.