Darren Ward (an unsung talent in the UK) follows up (at long last) his 1998 masterpiece of gritty no-budget bloodletting SUDDEN FURY, with this (slightly) more serious (and much darker) gangster thriller A DAY OF VIOLENCE (that features some regulars from his previous onslaught)
Opening up, with flashback narration from our (already) dead hero 'Mitchell' (sorry, it's not Joe Don Baker, folks!) we learn the troubled tale of a good (albeit flawed) man, in bad circumstances, narrate his own downfall. But when Mitchell goes down, he takes every motherfucker with him. Ironically, it's his one genuine selfless act of humanity, that leads to his downfall (but enough of that later) Of course Mitchell is played by long-time Ward collaborator Nick Rendell (Lead hero 'Walker' from SUDDEN FURY) so it's all good.
Mitchell also has to reassure his worried wife, that'll he soon be leaving this lifestyle behind (You know, the usual nagging wife bullshit, that every tough-guy has to put up with) She also blames his line of work for being the reason that their daughter is in a coma (more about that later)
Mitchell works as a debt collector for some Cornish scumbag, named Ben Casey (i say 'scumbag' because he barks out 'farm-yacker' orders over the phone, replete with porn screen savers on his PC) Casey sends Mitchell to collect £2000 from some lowlife junkie, named Hopper (played by none other than 'exploitation' legend Giovanni Lombardo Radice (and if you need me to list the movies he's starred in, then get the fuck off my blog...pronto!) Mitchell instead finds £100, 000, prompting him to torture and kill Hopper (in a particularly nasty throat slashing sequence that looks frighteningly realistic)
Mitchell decides to keep the swag for himself. Unknown to Mitchell, Hopper has filmed Mitchell ransacking his flat and finding the money, before his grisly demise.
Mitchell returns home, and bullshits Casey that no money was found and hands in his notice, informing that he's going to work for a rival firm (headed by Curtis Boswell) which infuriates Casey (leading to bad case of hilarious over-acting, shouting, ranting and raving, made all the funnier by his Cornish accent)
Mitchell wakes the next morning, goes for his morning jog, and upon returning home, is startled by a knife-wielding intruder (who turns out to be prankster/toff/extraordinaire, 'Smithy') It transpires that Smithy works for Boswell, and is picking him up, for his first day, in his new job. Smithy and Mitchell go way back, but although he seems to be doing well, Mitchell can sense that his old friend is hiding something from him.
Smithy and Mitchell arrive at a huge warehouse to meet Boswell (played by Victor D Thorn,who excelled in Sudden fury as Lennox) in probably the standout performance of the movie...partly down to the fact that he sounds like a foul-mouthed Chris Tarrant. Within minutes, Boswell has his goons beat up Smithy and truss him upside down by his ankles, to a concerned (but clearly out-numbered) Mitchell.
Turns out Smithy was 'skimming' money from Boswell, and is to be made an example of, in front of Mitchell. What's worse is, everyone believes that Smithy has Hoppers money (but only Mitchell knows the truth.) In keeping with Boswell earlier threat/job advice of "If you fuck with me in any way....you will be punished....And I'm not talking about the sort of punishment you can walk away from" Smithy is indeed punished.
Hanging upside down, trouser-less, beaten and shot, Boswell ends his obedience class (and the movies stand-out 'Yuck' scene) with a spot of Garden-Shear (not to mention 'censor-baiting') castration.
Boswell then shoots a (understandably) screaming Smithy dead (thank god) But things get worse for Mitchell, as Boswell orders him (and another henchman, lovingly named 'Chisel') to go to Hoppers house and retrieve the crime lords £100, 000 (which Mitchell has hidden in his own bathroom) Mitchell plays it cool, but the inevitable happens when Chisel finds Hoppers mobile phone (you just know it's only a matter of time, before the incriminating footage of Mitchell is found...Lending to a fair amount of suspense)
Boswell orders Mitchell and Chisel to visit Smithy's wife (thinking she has the £100k) and beat the information (plus the shit) out of her. Chisel is more than up for beating up women, but Mitchell intervenes (and is briefly knocked unconscious for his troubles) We now find out how 'Chisel' earned his name, as he goes to work of Smithy's widow, by smashing her teeth out with his namesake tool. Luckily, Mitchell wakes up, and knocks out the torturer, and flees the scene with Smithy's widow.
Chisel informs Boswell of Mitchell's treachery, and is ordered to track him down. During his search, Chisel notices the video footage of Mitchell talking the cash, on Hoppers mobile phone....and Boswell puts out a small army, to find Mitchell and retrieve the £100k.
Mitchell (rather foolishly) returns home, and is soon captured and taken back to the warehouse, were he is beaten senseless by Boswells goons (resembling the TOXIC AVENGER, with his swollen, bruised features)
But our hero soon manages to escape his captors, after stabbing and shooting the shit out of most of them (in true Darren Ward pyrotechnic-overload manner...which is a great thing!) But soon finds that Boswell and a few more goons are hot on his trail.
Mitchell gets news to his wife, that he's ok, and orders her to get out of town whilst the heat is on. During his frantic search for sanctuary, we are also treat to a flashback sequence, showing how his daughter was injured, due to his dangerous line of work.
Mitchell arranges to lay low with a friend (but his friend 'snitches' his whereabouts to Boswell) Thus follows a particularly nasty shoot-out in a nightclub, in which several innocent bystanders are blown the piss out of.
Mitchell ducks bullets left, right and centre (unlike a lot of unfortunate nightclub patrons) and (eventually) reigns supreme in a Mexican stand-off with Boswell and co (with a messy shot to the eye-ball.) And (it seems) he has come out on top.....
....That is, until six months later. Smithy's widow (having put two-and-two together) arrives at Mitchell's home (just as he's taking a soak in the bath) armed with the following:
1) The realisation that Mitchell's greed, lead to her husbands death
2) A shotgun
Mitchell's story comes full circle, and 'The Day Of Violence' comes to an end. With the only positive note being that Mitchell's daughter is out of her coma, and mourning his passing alongside his grieving wife, in the morgue.
Like I said, a little less comical than SUDDEN FURY and (possibly) better for it. Average cinema-goers may scoff at the low-budget, Suffolk accents,the odd iffy performance and general 'tone' of this movie....But it did it for me. Some UK distributors should have a little faith in this guy. He films shootouts with a furious kinetic energy, like no other. And this is all the more remarkable, given the budgets this guy must (surely) have to work with?
Keep up the great work Mr Ward (and don't take so long to bring out another movie) If you need a couple of quid, or an extra...let me know?
Beg, steal, borrow (or at very least) Maim...to get your hands on a copy of this fine British movie.