"I Against I is a tepid British gangster thriller"
I Against I is a tepid British gangster thriller that struggles to engage from the offset. The plot involves a game of cat and mouse as two individuals are pitted against each in a race against time and survival, sadly there's more tension and drama to be found in an episode of Balamory!
When Tommy Carmichael, the head of a crime family is murdered it's up to his son Joseph to wheedle out the killers, with two potential suspects at large; Ian Drake a big shot inner city businessman and Issac Revchenko a former solider turned gun for hire. Both of whom have connections to the death of Tommy, Drake who seemed to have some kind of joint partnership in a club (oh and he's also bedding Joseph's missus!) and Issac who was hired by the wife to kill Jospeh!
The film only really starts to pick up when we learn that Joseph has been playing both men against each other, while Drake has been told to kill Issac, similarly Issac has been told to kill Drake and so over the course of a night the two are endlessly chasing and confronting each other, with a looming deadline of 6am in order to complete the mission.
This is the problem with the film despite this tense countdown style of narrative, the film never really picks up pace, it gradually builds up then plateaus for the rest of the movie right up and till the end when the twist is revealed, a twist which you can pretty much work out from the get go.
Essentially there is no real sense of threat, and when you're told you have until 6am to kill someone otherwise your whole family will be murdered, there should at least be an element of alarm and the film never really communicates this well enough, Drake instead keeps nipping into the pub or hanging out with his work colleagues for a round of mojitos while Issac watches forlornly across the street waiting for him to leave but ends up looking as though he'd rather join in!
Joseph and Issac are well cast in their roles. Joseph as the Liverpudlian gangster with a hint of crazy about him and Issac, the shell shocked Russian hit man, it's Drake that I was less convinced by, with his softly spoken northern accent and gelled quiff he played his role more like a CBBC presenter who'd accidentally been filmed snorting cocaine in a nightclub.
I suppose part of me wanted Issac and Drake to team up way before the final few minutes of the film in order to take down big boss Joseph, but too little too late before they realise the true circumstances of their situation and the film ends in a predicament that could easily have been avoided by simply answering a phone!
All in all, I can see what kind of film I Against I is trying to be, yet it falls short of that mark somewhat, it's an oft told story that fails to bring anything new to the table. Visually and stylistically there are some nice touches that are reminiscent of Michael Mann and Wong Kar Wai particularly in the films nocturnal environment, the bright city lights and the seedy neon's of late night diners but unfortunately the lack of a script that provides any kind of meat to it, as well as characters that you simply don't care about leaves a rather flavourless after taste.