Blue Iguana Review
Two decades too late
A curious throwback to the days of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, the caper crime comedy Blue Iguana feels like it was made two decades too late.With mind-numbing editing keeping you on your toes throughout, and some really oddly choreographed fighting shots which wouldn't look out of place in a recent straight-to-DVD Seagal flick, Blue Iguana has a fair amount going against it. Clearly made for a shoestring budget, its attempts at stylised breakneck pacing and hyper-kinetic brawling fall flat. But, somehow, despite all of this, it does have some strange, almost inexplicable, but nonetheless innate charm.
It does have some strange, almost inexplicable, but nonetheless innate charm.
The story follows parolees Sam Rockwell and Ben Schwartz, who are rescued from the monotony of their diner work by Phoebe Fox's visiting Brit lawyer, who recruits them for a job stealing a mysterious package in London. Despite a relatively successful mission, the duo - now trio - pop up on the radar of Peter Ferdinando's local gangster, and with that kind of heat they are forced to do one more heist if they want to get clear of the mess that they are in.
Sam Rockwell doesn't exactly look like he knows what he's doing here, and whilst he enjoys quirky even he can't quite get his head around the material, with Parks and Recreation and House of Cards alumni Ben Schwartz offering a modicum of amusing support, and Phoebe Fox struggling to find the much-needed chemistry integral to her part opposite Rockwell. For every three scenes, one falls flat, one kind-of works, and one might actually generate a laugh and/or retain your interest. Brit vets like Simon Callow and Amanda Donohoe also colour in the background with somewhat desperate vulgarities, even if it is nice to see them back on the screen.
Writer/Director Hadi Hajaig, who made the efficient but unexceptional Sean Bean thriller Cleanskin, was supposedly attempting to elicit some 80s indie movie vibes here, citing Jonathan Demme's Something Wild, and the US remake of Breathless, although there's something missing here from any kind of throwback to movies like this. Perhaps it's not two decades too late, but three, although what it is really missing is heart and soul.
Blue Iguana really isn't funny, stylish or engaging enough.
Hajaig's nonsense caper blusters at you guns blazing at the beginning, but the middle act sags irretrievably, and it's not as if the film has engendered any meaningful audience loyalty through its opening salvo. Thankfully a late second act shootout sparks up some life, kind of like some insane Brit pub set version of a Peckinpah shootout, changing up the stakes somewhat, possibly before you've completely tuned out.
Blue Iguana means well, and it would be the kind of movie which, if released twenty years ago, would be enjoying its Blu-ray release through some niche label right about now, to a small but loyal group of fans whose rose-twisted retro-vision makes it innately worthy of a revisit. For a 2018 feature, there is some charm here, and it is nice to see something different - even by indie standards - but Blue Iguana really isn't funny, stylish, or engaging enough to warrant more than a cursory glance from most.
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