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Simon Read [Film Festival 07.02.10] United Kingdom movie review comedy

Year: 2010
Directors: Miles Watts
Writers: Miles Watts
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: projectcyclops
Rating: 3 out of 10

It’s difficult to throw too much criticism at a film like CrimeFighters. (although I’m not going to hold back!) While on one hand it’s a film that had absolutely no place in the EIFF line-up, being as it is a super low-budget, badly acted, poorly written and painfully amateur home-made film, but on the other hand it shows some promise and is actually kind of charming in an odd way. The film concerns three geeky friends who hang-out at their local pub and - facing an inexplicable crime wave in their town of York - decide to don masks, costumes and train in Karate to combat the rise in street violence as vigilante heroes: The CrimeFighters.

Ella, Phillip and Daisy meet every night in the pub for a few drinks. Ella’s a cynical and no-nonsense kind of girl who works with the police as a CCTV operator; Phillip is a nebbish, slightly effeminate young chap from New Zealand, who works in a book shop and pines over the pretty law student who hangs-out there; and good hearted Daisy runs her own dress shop (handy for making those hero costumes). Out one night after swearing off booze for at least 28 days, they notice increasingly violent behaviour as the people in the pub seem to be acting like crazies. Spot the two movie references there? That’s about as clever as this film gets. After a few cokes they leave and on his way home Phillip scares away a mugger harassing the young lady from his book store, and is suddenly inspired to form this vigilante group. Silly adventures follow.

Everyone I’ve spoken to this year has said it; this has not been a vintage year for the EIFF; and I’ve written far more negative reviews than positive ones. CrimeFighters is very much indicative of the kind of distressing drek I’ve been sitting through this year and stands as further proof that good intentions cannot mask poor execution. It cost £6000, it features local, non-professional actors, and it shamelessly tries to ape Sin City, Clerks and Batman – with mixed results. The fight scenes are badly choreographed with our heroes simply ‘knocking into’ the villains, who promptly ‘fall over’ onto the floor. The sound quality is terrible, with rushed and muttered lines that the microphone often misses, and when we do hear what’s being said it’s usually a bad pun or unfunny, clichéd observation from one of the leads, and while the black and white cinematography looks fairly respectable, this just serves to remind us how lacking the film is in every other area (and director Miles Watts explains in an interview that they simply changed it to B&W so it’d look less like a home movie). It’s billed as a whacky comedy with some eye-popping action sequences, but plays more like a group of stoner friends with a digital camera got together over a weekend with the sole intent of making a comic book movie with lots of references to other comic book movies - which at this stage seems mildly passé. It’s a real shame as the film obviously took a lot of hard work from director Watts and his actors Emma Keaveney, Paul Trimmer and Debbie Hard, who no doubt put a lot of themselves into it. You can work insanely hard on making a film and to have it dismissed as mere fluff or total trash is a horrible thing, but this film just doesn’t work. For a comedy it isn’t funny enough and for an action film it’s barely pedestrian. I can imagine the typical response of the writer to reading this might be that I didn’t ‘get it’, but I got it, and it doesn’t work.

All that said, a lot of my complaints can be put down more to baby steps than any lack of potential talent and the fact remains that, good or bad, these guys actually made a feature film. Congratulations, you’ve done more than most people ever do in their lives and - with all my criticism ringing in your ears - hopefully the next one will be better.

Are there any good things about CrimeFighters? There is one strong laugh, it comes around the middle and is between Ella and her ex-boyfriend Edwin, by the river. The whole audience burst out laughing and it was genuine, although no doubt a lot of it came out of a collective relief that perhaps the film was about to become funnier and hit it’s stride, which sadly it didn’t. If I were a Media Studies teacher at a high school I’d award it an A+, but as a film critic watching press screenings at a major IFF it’s D-.

I mean this when I say it though; better luck next time.

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Crispin Oliver (11 years ago) Reply

How are you 'in no doubt' that the audience laughter was 'out of a collective relief'? Pretty presumptuous.

I was in the audience at that screening with 6 friends and while the film was far from perfect, we all found it very, very entertaining. I thought it got better towards the ending, which was hilarious.

I'm not saying you don't make some good points in your review but in the end, these guys DID get selected by the EIFF which means they thought it was good enough.

Still, in the end it's all opinion I guess.


projectcyclops (11 years ago) Reply

I doubt you were at the press screening Crispin, as most people left and I was among less than six people who stayed until the end. If you really found the ending 'hilarious' then you need a check on your sanity. Are you the directors lawyer?

The EIFF have made some terrible choices this year, and this film is among them - fact.


Crispin Oliver (11 years ago) Reply

Ah no, I was at the public screening which was packed, and everyone stayed until the end. I guess the punters enjoyed it more than the press, because there was a really good vibe and the bit where she says at the end, 'Who wants to go to the pub?' got a massive round of applause.

Sorry you didn't enjoy it, I really did and there are some good reviews amongst the bad ones - seems to be popular with the comic book geeks - who are probably the audience they were going for.

In point of fact, I actually thought your review was good and pretty encouraging to the filmmakers, rather than mean-spirited. I guess we just differ in our opinions of what's enjoybale: I like like fun, trashy stuff and this hit the spot.


projectcyclops (11 years ago) Reply

I saw what they were going for, and I'm glad that you (or anybody) enjoyed it. I just have to hold my hands up and say that - as brave an effort as it is - it's not a well made film by the standards that I judge films by.

Like I said though, I hope the next one is better.


Crispin Oliver (11 years ago) Reply

Fair enough, I also hope the filmmakers aim to improve their films as they go but I did find this very enjoyable, first effort or not. Brave, yes, overambitious, definitely.

Cheers for the comments anyway. C.


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