Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Dead Ringer Review: British Boy Band Revenge Thriller

Release date: September 17, 2018 (US Release August 3, 2020)
Running time: 96 minutes
Starring: Tom Sizemore, Luke White, Amar Adatia, Danielle Harold 

Dead Ringer bills itself as a modern day version of The Prince And The Pauper where one man from a poor background ends up taking over another man's life from the entirely opposite end of the spectrum.  Jamie Poulton (White) is the spitting image of superstar singer Donny Martin, from his look to his voice.  And although Jamie is trying to make it on his own, he gets an opportunity he can't refuse when Donny unexpectedly dies in a freak accident.  Jamie quickly steps into Donny's world, literally going from rags to riches, while leaving his entire life behind.  However, when he also starts to get involved in some of Donny's less savory aspects, he realizes he might have agreed to more than he bargained for.  

I was not expecting much from this film but was pleasantly surprised.  The production values were very good and the entire movie had a police procedural feel to it.  Think like a CSI but with better overall production.  The movie throws a lot of information at you initially, and does so with an out of order story, but slowly comes together as the film progresses.  You learn a lot about Jamie and Donny's life and the various issues that both singers have.  The entire premise of this film is a little crazy, but it has a bright, investigative style to it.  And the cast itself is generally pretty good.  White is good overall as Jamie / Donny, though there are some lines that feel forced.  Jamie's girlfriend Melanie (Harold) is also enjoyable, and it was really refreshing to see a female in the relationship being the more successful breadwinner.  And I was pleasantly surprised to see Bentley Kalu in this film as one of the main bad guys.  We recently saw him in I Am Vengeance: Retaliation, and he is always so much fun to watch.  He has such a funny, unpredictable personality on screen that elevates any film he is in.

The story itself has a lot going on, and it is not necessarily explained at first.  It feels like all the threads are intertwined a little too much, with sporadic visions of what is happening.  And by the end it does feel like everything is tied up, but some things are tied up more neatly than others.  The story has plenty of ups and downs.  At first, it is fun to see how this regular guy began living the rockstar lifestyle.  But when the movie transitions to more of an action thriller, it becomes a little too over the top.  Some of the characters seem too good at this new role and some of the story points are a little too convenient.  However Dead Ringer is a fun British movie and one that you can sit down and enjoy during these quarantine times.

Dead Ringer has an upbeat, British style that pulls together a movie that is part rags to riches, part police procedural, part thriller, and all fun. 

Rent it.
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