Martin Kemp is a man with a very particular set of skills. Skills he has acquired over a very long career. Having played bass for his brother`s band Spandau Ballet, he gained further fame as Reggie Kray in the classic British gangster films, The Krays. Later, he re-won the hearts of many a middle-aged woman as he whispered his way through four years of Eastenders as the slimy Steve Owen.
In his latest venture, however, in Neil Jones` Taken ripoff Age of Kill, Kemp takes on the role of Liam Neeson as he plays Sam Blake, an infamous black ops sniper who spends his weekends taking his teenage daughter (Dani, not Danny, Dyer) into the woods and teaching her his trade. When an unknown terrorist (Phillip Davis doing his very best Jigsaw impersonation) kidnaps his darling girl, Blake is forced into killing a series of apparently innocent civilians in order to get his daughter back.
If Guy Ritchie has taught us anything over the last twenty years, it`s that the best approach to making a gritty British crime drama is to throw in a healthy handful of humour to balance out the killing. Indeed, given to Ritchie, this could have been a half enjoyable romp. Unfortunately, in the hands of Jones (with his back-catalogue of underwhelming horror pics including Deranged and The Reverend) we are left with ninety minutes of dull action sequences (including a hilarious slow-motion scene in which Kemp attempts to shoot a helicopter out of the sky) and horribly delivered, clichéd dialogue that seems to have been lifted straight out of whatever eighties thriller scriptwriter Simon Cluett happened to have in his DVD player at the time.
Kemp is utterly unbelievable as an action hero, made even more laughable as every fight sequence he partakes in suddenly switches to first person perspective, and the final set-up for a sequel that will surely never happen features Kemp trying to pull off his very best Bond audition. The rest of the cast, meanwhile, deliver their lines as if reading straight from the script, and had it not been for Dexter Fletcher`s all-too-brief cameo, one might have thought this was a Kemp family project shot over a dull weekend in East London.
Do yourself a favour; if you`re going to see Age of anything this week, go and see The Age of Adaline, or a late viewing of Age of Ultron again, or maybe even get The Age of Innocence on Amazon Prime. Just please don`t help fund whatever joyous sequel they have planned to this cockney nonsense.
Dir: Neil Jones
Scr: Simon Cluett
Starring: Martin Kemp, April Pearson, Phillip Davis, Nick Moran, Anouska Mond, Dani Dyer, Dexter Fletcher
Prd: Jonathan Sothcott, Rod Smith, Neil Jones
DOP: Ismael Issa
Run Time: 86 mins
Age of Kill is on VOD and DVD now via Platform Entertainment.