Dead Man Down is not that good but it is not bad either. It defies the concepts of what is good and bad. The movie begins with Terrence Howard getting threats and surveillance photos of himself with his eyes removed from a killer who has already murdered his friends.
But it turns out that Terrence Howard is the villain in Dead Man Down. He is a crime lord who is defending his turf from a man seeking revenge, played by Colin Farrell. He has infiltrated Howard’s crime empire as an undercover agent with a plan to kill the crime boss and everyone else who was responsible for the death of the family.
The story has already been told by countless revenge movies. The protagonist has been ready to execute his plan for years but unable to go through with it. In most aspects, Farrell is a typical action hero but with a serious class of procrastination.
Farrell is a loner who meets a damaged woman (Noomi Rapace). Their relationship is something that can’t be described as normal. She knows Farrell is a killer and goes along with him so that she can make him kill the drunk driver who has caused the scar on her face.
These are the elements that make Dead Man Down fresh. The movie is directed by Niels Arden Oplev, who is responsible for the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that also features Rapace. The movie shifts from unintentionally funny to sincere. It is a character study and action packed.
If Dead Man Down is done in a foreign language, it could have been embraced more by critics. But it is an American production filmed in a recognizable environment. It has several plot points with dialogues too weird for mainstream viewers.
Dead Man Down is recognizable as a story but there’s nothing like it in Hollywood. It is a mainstream movie done by an outsider which is why it feels weird. There might be some that can enjoy the movie and others who will dislike it.