A low budget film with dodgy acting, an awful script and questionable accents.
Dangerous Game follows new premiership footballer, Chris Rose (Calum Best) as he gets sucked into the Russian mafia whilst trying to help his friend (Amar Adatia) get out of his gambling problems. This starts with them wanting him to throw a game but escalates when instead he scores the winning goal. The duo goes on a journey together to repay what they owe making friends and enemies along the way including Chris’ love interest Ashley Queen (Jess Impiazzi). Chris then uses his experience in football strategy to pit the Russian mafia against the Algerian underworld as he puts in place a plan to pay back the Russians all that is owed to them.
The storyline has potential with a well-considered twist, however, was so poorly executed that any potential was lost. From the terrible script to the inexperienced cast and crew the film was doomed to failure. Calum Best (of Celebrity Big Brother) takes his first lead role alongside Amar Adatia and their relationship on screen felt so forced. There was no chemistry between the duo and the friendship felt less real on screen than in reality. This made the plot so much less believable when Chris risks his life, relationship and dream career to help his ‘friend’.
Jess Impiazzi was a saving grace for the film, though it was obvious that this was one of her first lead roles, Ashley was one of the few characters I could believe. Best and Adam both felt so uncomfortable to watch; it was obvious throughout that I was watching actors rather than being able to truly immerse in the story. Darren Day stars as the Russian mafia ‘big boss’ and was the least believable of the lot. His atrocious Russian accent makes the most serious scenes laughable. They would have been far better off adapting the storyline to have the Russian mafia as a London-based crime syndicate and have done away with the fake accents altogether. On the subjects of accents though, Calum’s American accent was a tad confusing considering he’s playing a character born and bred in Essex, a little back-story explaining the accent might have helped.
It was clear what first-time director, Richard Colton, was trying to do with the story and while I admittedly enjoyed some of his use of camera angles, overall he was working with a dodgy script and inexperienced actors and unfortunately wasn’t able to redeem much. He gave himself limited options in the angle for each shot which became apparent throughout. As a first-time director, moving from the editing suite it was clear that this approach was intentional and does show a clarity in the image he had for the film, however, overall it just didn’t give him enough to play with. On a positive for him, I do feel like he has potential as a director going forward if he was working with better actors and a better script. It shouldn’t be hard for his next film to smash the bar set by this one.
However, Dangerous Game seems unsure about which genre it wants to be. The humour feels forced and the jokes fall flat – who has ever heard the saying “A friend helps you move, a best friend helps you move a dead body”? – and the romance between Chris and Ashley felt like an afterthought. Having elements of different genres in a film can, and often does, work extremely well; it just really didn’t here. It felt as if the production team had read a book on the components a successful film needed and then tried to make sure they were all crammed in.
Overall this is a low budget film and you can tell. It might have been possible to get past the dodgy acting and limited camera angles if more time had been spent on the script. This was a film I really wanted to like after the train wreck that was its trailer, however, it just continued down the same track ploughing into the back of it.
Dangerous Game (2017), directed by Richard Colton, is distributed in the UK by Best Wishes Productions, Certificate 18. Premieres on June 15th 2017.