Have a Bad Day on Blu-ray

Saturday, 29 May 2010 11:17

“Bad Day” is a homage to the British crime thrillers of the 1960s and 70s, one that packs quite a punch despite its meagre budget. Director Ian David Diaz called in plenty of favours, and used all of his contacts (and their contacts’ contacts!) to pull together an impressive cast and crew, all working twelve hour days free of charge. The end product speaks volumes about what can be achieved with sufficient focus and talent.

Claire Goose (The Bill, Waking the Dead) stars as Rebecca (aka Margaret), a strong-willed undercover copper who has got a little too emotionally attached to one of her suspects. She is in love with Harry McCann (George Calil – Waking the Dead, Band of Brothers), the boss of a cab firm which is actually a front for all sorts of criminal mob activity including drug running and prostitution.

Bad Day on Blu-ray and DVD nowRebecca’s jaundiced partner and handler, Darius Cruise (Anthony Ofoegbu – Spooks, Casualty) attempts to make contact with her for a progress report, but everything starts to go horribly wrong after Rebecca’s daughter is murdered. Distraught, she goes all ‘Jack Bauer’ and embarks on a single-minded rampage, determined to take down anyone that she believes is linked to the killing.

Top of her list is Harry’s terrifying sister, Marla (Riana Husselmann). As Harry tries to get away from his dark past, Marla threatens to drag him in deeper than ever.

Detective Cruise is joined by new partner Abby (MTV presenter Donna Air – Hotel Babylon), a gorgeous rooky who has just fallen out with her previous partner (played in a superbly sleazy manner by Keith Eyles), and filed a sexual harassment charge against him. Abby’s determined not to be seen as a weak, dumb blond and quickly convinces Cruise that she can keep it together under pressure.

As the body count grows, Rebecca, Harry, Marla, Abby and Cruise appear to be heading towards a bloody showdown. Can Cruise appeal to his undercover charge’s better nature before she is beyond redemption and ends up dead?

“Bad Day” is a competent thriller with plenty of emotionally charged exchanges, swearing, violence and murder. Stand-out performances come from Goose and Air, who along with Husselmann fill their exceptionally strong female characters with life and energy. Other than Cruise, the men in this film are invariably cold, mean or angry people, and the focus on the women helps to make the film stand out.

Having said that, the movie does occasionally feel too heavy-handed and clichéd, such as when Cruise tells Abby that nothing is ever black and white. It is clear that some of the criminals have good hearts, and some of the police are corrupt and untrustworthy. The characters do not have to spell it out for us.

The makers of this film have made much of the fact that Sarah Harding (of Girls Aloud fame) has a role in it. It certainly helps with publicising the picture but it is a little disingenuous for her to feature so prominently on the DVD cover when she is probably on screen for less than five minutes. Still, she does not make a fool of herself and shows promise for larger roles in the future, should she decide to further her acting career.

Although Diaz mentions in the “making of” special feature that he regrets he could not afford to shoot more action, I did not detect an imbalance, partly thanks to the film’s pace and tense atmosphere. There is an exciting chase on foot and several vicious fight scenes that are well choreographed and clearly filmed, something of a rarity in low-budget movies!

The disc’s extras include a very thorough and insightful making-of (56 minutes), along with a cheery cast and crew audio commentary, some deleted scenes and a couple of trailers. Even though those taking part did so for free, many of them obviously cherished the prospect of doing something a little bit different from their past experiences, such as learning to do fight scenes, playing stronger female characters or being rewarded with a more prominent role than they normally would in a project with a larger budget.

I believe their efforts have paid off and hope that the film succeeds. As an aside, it might interest Doctor Who fans to know that Dominic Glynn composed the soundtrack.

“Bad Day” (2008) is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of ISIS Ltd. The main feature is 93 minutes approx, certificate ‘18’ and retails for £15.99 on DVD (version reviewed), £17.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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