Five: Sunday 30 August, 11.30pm
Clive Owen went from the excellent Children of Men to the execrable babes in arms. Arms as in heavy artillery, all of it trained on the mewling infant Owen saved from Paul Giamatti’s lowlife goons. Fetish hooker Monica Bellucci reluctantly helps Owen mind the baby in a hyperactive riff on John Woo’s Hard-Boiled that’s soft in the noggin. For all the grime and grunge, it’s sort of whimsical – as if Tim Burton, say, was trying to make a down-and-dirty thriller. But, filled with seedy detail, this knucklehead comic-strip has the kind of grubby, callous humour only a jaded studio executive or off-colour Quentin Tarantino could love. The result is the dumbest action since Ghost Rider, frantic antics so dimwitted they make Doom look like 2001: A Space Odyssey. Most of these gags have been seen before, in better films than this one, from the fierce Euro-thrillers Dobermann and Nikita, to Jet Li’s Kiss of the Dragon. Not to mention the complete works of the aforementioned John Woo. And Owen’s been in a higher grade of trash, too, in Sin City. “This is weird,” Owen says, more than once. It’s not weird. Try stupid. As for the baby-at-risk, that’s about as convincing as the prosthetic dollies used in House and Casualty. Its saving grace? It’s all done and dusted inside eighty minutes.