Following on from 2014’s Looters, Tooters and Sawn-Off Shooters, King Brothers Productions tread familiar territory in this low budget gangland thriller, depicting the struggle to earn redemption in a violent, dangerous world. Reformed gangster Grace (Paul Lee King) is determined to atone for his former life of crime; a task not made any easier when he is ordered to kill his, recently released, best friend Paul (Micky Curate) on the instructions of antagonist crime-lord Ray (Steve Collins).
Right from the start, Grace isn’t your typical criminal, reformed or otherwise. We first meet him indulging in a heart to heart with a creepy looking priest on how to earn forgiveness from God, in light of his horrific misdeeds, before he then proceeds to promptly assist his neighbour pick her shopping bags up from the pavement (hey, it’s a start). He returns home to find Paul enjoying a post-incarceration shower and shave, but rather than following orders, Grace whisks him off to the local café for a bacon sarnie, before a not-at-all-sleazy daytime trip to the local brothel.
Paul fails to perform sexually (if you see the film you’ll understand why), following which, Grace reveals to his sceptical buddy that he has found God, as a way of making sense of his troubled history. This divine explanation takes place whilst they’re waiting for a visit from drug dealer Darren (a genuinely strong cameo from writer/director Darren James King) after which we’re a third of the way into this 60 something-minute feature and not much has happened.
Grace eventually confesses that he has been ordered to murder Paul at ‘midday tomorrow’ (not an obvious time to shoot someone but we’re not professionals) but Paul seems reasonably chilled about it, waving his arms about and letting out a “tsk” of disapproval, before stomping off to find his ex girlfriend. Matters don’t really progress much from there; it’s pretty obvious Grace isn’t going to kill Paul nor does Paul act like somebody about to be executed by his best friend. The duo undertake a few redeeming acts (rescuing a hooker/stripper/scantily clad young lady from a car boot), before they head off to Ray’s office (yes, office), for a final showdown.
The film’s meagre budget shows but that’s understandable; the performances are a little shaky but the main problem lies in the writing. The script, though peppered with flashes of potential, is all too often to blame for the lacklustre pace and at times baffling narrative. Dialogue is frequently wasted in irrelevant conversations, which do nothing to drive the story forward or tell you anything about the characters we’re supposed to invest in. There’s a nice subplot involving Grace and his estranged daughter that isn’t given enough time to breathe, but the film would have benefitted from less talk and more action.
It’s hard not to admire the drive and determination that writing/starring in/directing an indie feature takes, and we suspect that with decent financial backing and the guidance of an experienced screenwriter, that the King Brothers could one day have a hit on their hands, but as far as Blood Feud goes, it’s an unfortunate misfire.
BLOOD FEUD / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: DARREN JAMES KING / STARRING: PAUL LEE KING, MICKY CURATE, STEVE COLLINS / RELEASE DATE: 29TH FEBRUARY