Failing to Enshrine a Cleveland Folk Hero in Kill the Irishman
With post-Goodfellas crime-movie tropes dyed for St. Patricks Day, this Ballad of Danny Greene attempts to enshrine the Irish-American strongman, a real-life folk hero among mob-lore nerds and Cleveland teamsters for his Rasputin-like resilience through multiple assassination attempts. Kill the Irishman aims to come out bumping chests in upstart insouciance, hoping to abet Greenes famous bravado. But though director Jonathan Hensleigh (The Punisher) perks up when filming violence, the atmosphere throughout is past prime, stymieing any strut. Playing Greene from his 20s through the end of his life, 46-year-old Ray Stevenson is older than Greene actually lived to be. The action is set in weed-eaten-period Cleveland (196077), apparently the vacant-lot capital of the world (and recognizably not actually Clevo). In a purely extraneous detective part, Val Kilmer narrates; hes briefly seen at a sparsely extra-ed Slavic festival that, along with some Wop-Mick-Polack ball-busting and an Irish widow off the Warners lot circa 1946, comprises the extent of attempting a feel for the city and its ethnic enclaves. Stevenson squares off against grandfatherly Italian-American character actors and Christopher Walkens Jewish racketeer Shondor Birns, whose claim to have bagged Marilyn Monroe is lifted from the gossipy autobiography of Cleveland-born screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who mightve given this material the (low)life it lacks.
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