Kill The Irishman (Blu-ray)
Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson) is driving in his green Cadillac when the radio starts to cut out. He immediately jumps out of the car a second before it blows up. Danny stands up bruised and bloody and screams, “Is That All You Got?!” This is the beginning of a long line of failed attempts to KILL THE IRISHMAN.
Based on the true story about how one man declared war on the mob in the 1970’s, KILL THE IRISHMAN is both exciting and historic. Growing up in the lower income working class of Cleveland, Danny Greene quickly rises to become a longshoreman union head by fighting back when being bullied by corrupt leaders. There are few things more satisfying than watching an evil sleezeball abusing and taking advantage of the weak get slapped across the face. Danny Green does this literally and figuratively to all in power who cross him. Becoming a powerful gangster himself, he relies on a few trusty comrades that are continually underestimated. Ultimately his smarts and unlikely ability to survive make Danny a force that neither the police nor mob has ever faced, influencing the downfall of organized crime.
The key to this unbelievably true story is Ray Stevenson’s portrayal of Danny Greene. Particularly large in height and build this Irish-American with red thinning full hair (if that’s possible) that looks like a disheveled toupee, Stevenson is naturally intimidating. Once you add his heavy voice, crazy eyes, absolutely fearless attitude and beautiful 70’s mustache there is no stopping him…not even the mob.
Green’s story is captivating but I couldn’t help feeling left in the dark when recapping what actually went down. Things are explained in a broad view but large segments seemed to be glossed over. We never quite see how police detective Joe Manditski (Val Kilmer) and Danny became friends. In fact, Kilmer’s character isn’t really utilized other than narrating the story. I was curious about his family and other mob characters, feeling like I never completely knew how much authority some gangsters had compared to others. But these are small complaints when a film entertains as much as this one does and if anything it gives more credit to the appeal of the story. Wisely casting recognizable skilled actors like Christopher Walken, Vincent D’Onofrio, Linda Cardellini, Robert Davi, Vinnie Jones and Paul Sorvino as some of these people helps the audience distinguish characters without having to really get to know them.
Make no mistake, Danny Greene is a bad guy but he’s usually bad to other bad guys, which kind of makes it OK if it weren’t for the word “usually.” But his tougher than nails determination and unlikely resistance to more powerful men make him an unlikely hero. KILL THE IRISHMAN doesn’t have quite the respectable nature as a film like GOODFELLAS but like THE BOONDOCK SAINTS or LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS it’s a fun ride full of murder, revenge and expletives.
Video: (1080p 1.78:1) A great looking picture that captures really captures the feel of the 1970’s in Cleveland.
Audio: (Dolby True HD 5.1) The explosions and expletives are loud and clear.
Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of the Irishman (1:00:27): I’m sure many of you will want to know more about this fascinating character and here’s your chance. This is an in depth documentary about Danny Greene’s war against the mob and even his affect after death using real footage and current interviews of those who knew him.