Friday, 5 May 2017


Starring: Ron Perlman, Rupert Grint, Robert Sheehan
Writer: Dean Craig
Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet

CIA agent Kidman (Perlman) is sent on a mission to London to locate Stanley Kubrick and enlist his services to film a fake version of the moon landing in case the actual Apollo 11 mission fails in that purpose. However, the guy who professes to be Kubrick is in fact Leon (Sheehan), permanently stoned flatmate of Jonny (Grint) who's in financial trouble with some bad guys and sees a quick money-making scheme as a way to get them off his back...

Moonwalkers is a reasonably entertaining film but it's certainly not without its problems. Still, let's start with the positives. The leads are very good indeed, make that very, very good in the case of Ron Perlman. His troubled spook provides most of the best moments of the movie as he wades through 60s hippie culture with an amusing weariness. When he's not slapping people around or blowing them away, that is. If Kidman was played by someone other than Perlman I feel the end product would have suffered as a result.

Rupert Grint, as the slightly dodgy band manager-cum-fake-Kubrick-wrangler, is good value as a somewhat reluctant, thoroughly out of his depth wannabe wheeler-dealer and I didn't spend the film thinking of that Weasley kid. Sheehan, as the uber-flaky Leon, gets to play the broadest comedy in the piece and his constant ineptitude under pressure could have become annoying but I was left chuckling a fair amount of the time, especially at his interpretation of Kubrick (not really a spoiler, but it's several miles off).

The period detail is generally spot on too, although there's a point at which you feel the 1960s props are just being shoehorned in to sequences. Occasionally the effect is one of drowning in the decade. Did they have a job lot of these things which they felt they should use? Sometimes less is more. I'm not going to point out that poster of The Who in Jonny's place may actually be from the 70s. Oh, I just did. I may be wrong.

It's an action/comedy, that I can't deny. There are some rather nicely choreographed fights and shootouts and I did laugh at various points along the way. The problem is that the two elements work against each other, so you're presented with scenes bordering on farce sitting alongside flashes of startlingly nasty and gruesome violence. Also, Kidman's suffering from flashbacks about what happened in a previous mission to 'Nam and although his hallucinations of burned villagers are chillingly memorable they belong in a different movie entirely.

Also, I know it's a movie set in the swinging 60s but did we really need a visit to another rambling bohemian pile whether another orgy is taking place and another group of naked women are wandering about? Actually, the visit to the rambling bohemian pile does wring some laughs out of Jonny's choice of director for the fake lunar footage, a guy called Renatus whose only previous celluloid outing - an experimental work which took YEARS to complete - is predictably pretentious but still made me smile.

There's also a whiff of "Lock, Stock..." about this, the plot could easily be described as a "caper" and for me this has exactly the same issue as Guy Ritchie's flick - it can't balance the comedy and drama as effectively as it aims to. It does throw in a couple of disposable gangs (wasting the great James Cosmo in the process, both figuratively and literally) for Jonny to avoid and for Kidman to take on and by the end it may not have quite got to the point where it's thrown in the kitchen sink but it's used most of the other stuff around it.

That's not to say Moonwalkers is a waste of time. Far from it. Perlman is always watchable and if you can laugh at a character discovering that someone has taken a shit on one of their records then you may enjoy this more than I did. The comedy's a little too wacky and the violence a little too unpleasant given the context, but there's just about enough to enjoy on balance and it's an interestingly flawed pic.