By: John M Jerva

REVIEW: VILLAIN

STARRING: Craig Fairbrass, George Russo,
Robert Glenister, Tomi May, Izuka Hoyle, and Taz Skylar

DIRECTED BY: Philip Barantini

After being released from prison, ex-con Eddie Franks (Craig Fairbrass) wants nothing more than to start a new life. However, his dreams of normalcy are tested when he learns of his brother’s dangerous debt to a menacing drug lord. To protect his family, Eddie is forced to go back to his former life of crime and learns that stepping back into this world can have devastating consequences in this action-packed thriller.

THE REVIEW: When you think of British crime movies, one should immediately think of Craig Fairbrass. The grizzled, tough as nails actor has cut his teeth in roles that embody villainy and anti-hero to the extreme. I have followed Fairbrass’ career for many years and have enjoyed his performances in a number of action flicks like Proteus, the Rise of the Footsoldier franchise and, of course, Avengement where he turned in one vile performance as Scott Adkins’ unforgiving brother. It’s safe to say that he has gritty and low down to true form.

With that, we have Villain, which stars Fairbrass as Eddie Franks and, you guessed it, he’s been recently released from prison and wants nothing more than to have a normal and quiet life. We all know that’s not gonna happen though because Eddie’s brother is in big trouble. It’s the being in large debt to a scumbag drug lord kind of trouble and Eddie is once again sucked back into the life of crime he wants so desperately to escape from.

Now Villain is more of a character study and crime drama than an action movie but there is ample opportunity here for Fairbrass to get some and he does indeed in the film’s few shoot outs and fisticuffs. It’s not loaded wall to wall but when it happens, it’s brutal and bruising to say the least.

Director Philip Barantini keeps things moving at a moderately brisk pace and even though it’s not jam packed with excitement, it still keeps viewers glued to this shady and dark world where bad people do very bad things.

Fairbrass can do this kind of role in his sleep and I would love to see him play an older and war weary British version of The Punisher. I could definitely see a bullet riddled skull on his chest for sure. If anyone wants to pay me for that idea, you know where I’m at. Fairbrass is solid in anything that he does and he even gets the chance to show his softer side here with his daughter Chloe that adds just a little dash of sympathy to his character. He’s a bad man but he’s a bad man with some heart. It’s a great study of an anti-hero and in today’s society where our onscreen heroes usually come damaged, Fairbrass is at the head of the class.

The film runs at an hour and thirty seven minutes in length so unfortunately, character development is hard to find for a lot of the supporting cast but here it’s forgiven as we are still drawn into Eddie’s predicament with his brother and it beats with reality that is unforgiving and sometime’s there is no sun the next day.

Over all, Villain works because Fairbrass is the glue that holds it together and he’s like Frank Grillo to me because I can watch anything that he’s in. Audiences who know what to expect will have a low brow good time and if down and dirty British gangster flicks are your cup of tea, then you could do worse than this one. Villain erupts with fury when it has to and it’s like an exclamation point to the entire flick. There’s no false advertising with this movie and that right there makes it worth a watch.

Verdict: 3.5 Out Of 5 Stars

ACTION-FLIX APPROVED

Villain is available starting today on Digital and VOD courtesy of Saban Films

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