Wednesday, 26 January 2011

SUDDEN FURY (1998) Darren Ward

Most DVD releases nowadays promise the earth (but couldn't deliver cold pizza) Almost ten agos ago, i was fortunate enought to stumble across the cover for Darren Ward's SUDDEN FURY. The lurid pictures and synopsis had me hooked straight away, and I bought it immediately. I expected a cheery, low budget gore-fest...and it didn't dissapoint in those regards. But it also had something honest, heartfelt energy (that papered over the occasional dodgy accent or three) And above all else, it restored my faith in British moviemaking (which at the time was content to churn out 'Grim-Up-North Tragi-coms' or 'United-Colours-Of-beneton-Film Four Fuckoffs') Here was a UK movie for fans of Lucio Fulci or Umberto Lenzi. It also proved that a director could think outside of the 'Let's Hire Ricky Tomlinson to play an opinionated Scouser' box, and make something for the die-hard fans of gritty crime/horror movies.

(The J, the I, the M, the M, the Y, the J, the I, the M.......It's JIMMY!)

SUDDEN FURY opens with 'Henchman' Jimmy reading the riot act to a couple of inept (would be) hit men (with GCSE's in fuckupery, and little else) The two guys (partial to the 'devils dandruff') have completed the job, but were given implicit instructions to "Shoot the motherfuckers in the heads" by crime boss Mr Randell (Paul Murphy) Tempers (not to mention, some hilariously overblown southern accents) reach boiling point, when Jimmy points out that they won't be receiving the rest of their fee. Mr Randall (who is sat in a car outside) bursts in, and together with Jimmy, they proceed to punch, kick and shoot the shit out of the two 'defectives'

(Randell about to get De Niro on yo' ass!)

We cut to a darkened room, and a guy named Walker receives a phone call, informing him of a new assignment....cue the opening titles...fuck yeah! (this is my kind of movie)

The location switches to Randells office, as he gripes about his on-going war with rival Harris, whilst bollocking Jimmy for hiring such lowlife fucker-uppers in the first place. Randell thinks he's got his shit sewn up, until he receives a call from Mr Pike (the late, great David Warbeck) a hit man for Harris, (who's sadism is matched only by his chronic asthma) Making Randell listen as he tortures two of his henchmen, by burning their faces off with a blow torch (ouch!) Pike explains that further 'examples' like this, will be made, unless the stolen drugs are returned at a planned meet up. Randell hits upon the idea of hiring freelance muscle (and all round tough motherfucker) 'Walker' (Nick Rendell) to be the bagman.

(Warbeck going all out in his memorable role as Mr Pike)

Walker (tough bastard he is) arrives at Randells, and after a minor altercation, kills the doorman (as you do) rather than be frisked. Randell explains the details of the meet-up, and even agrees to pay him a cool million, as long as (quote) "Not one of those Cocksuckers is left alive" Walker agrees, and the meet is set for the next day. Unbeknown to Walker, all he'll be getting is a bullet in the head as payment from Jimmy on completion of the job.

(Walker...Texas Homecare)

The meet is at an abandoned warehouse(tm) were Pike squares up to (quote) "Living Legend" Walker. Much swearing, macho posturing and an asthmatic fit soon give way to a brutal shoot out. This is were director Darren Ward delivers the goods. Camerawork, pyrotechnic and squib work are top notch throughout this movie, but this initial orgy of bullets comes out of nowhere (and certainly made this viewer sit up) Torso's explode, Head wounds gush the red stuff, many 'clocks are stopped' and several 'heads are put to bed' during this sequence, culminating in Walker getting the drop on Pike (with a close-range shotgun blast to the stomach) and making off with the money and cocaine. Jimmy attempts the planned double-cross on Walker, but gets a bullet in the leg, plus a warning to "Tell Randell, I'm coming to get him!"

(Doctor, doctor, I've got this spot on my head.....Ah, nevermind)

Walker wakes up from a bad dream in the house of his only trustworthy friend Alex. Both agree that it's best if Walker lays low (whilst his wounds heal) On the other side of town, Jimmy (disgraced and limping) is met outside hospital and brought to Randells house, as the crime boss is tucking into the most horrid looking lasagne possible! (see below) Randell has jimmy sent away for his ineptitude, and never afraid to get his own hands dirty, arranges (through his 'plant' at Harris' house) to slaughter his rival, his wife and even his kids (dig those TMNT sweaters) and even double-cross the snitch that got him in there...What a bastard!

(Fuck the violence.....This is the sort of stuff the BBFC should take umbrage to)

Alex is skipping town for a few days 'on business', leaving Walker home alone. Jimmy returns from Spain with his leg healed, and a desire to get back into Randell's good books. Randell explains that he slaughtered Harris and his wife (and gloats about killing the kids, in a very funny sequence) to a bemused (but nonetheless promoted) Jimmy. Meanwhile, Alex is kidnapped in a car park. He is later tied to a chair, tortured and questioned by a man named Lennox (the amazing Chris Tarrant sound-a-like, Victor D thorn) and his sidekick Marcus. Lennox wants to know the whereabouts of the "Cash and Coke" that Walker absconded with.

(Randell gives true meaning to the term 'Turtle Power' as breaks a childs neck)

Walker receives a house call from a horny prostitute with an atrocious Scottish accent (Laid on by Alex, as a gift to his chum) Meanwhile, despite having his knees and fingers broken, Alex goes to the grave rather than rat out his friend to Lennox.
Whilst Walker is entertaining his 'Tartan-Tart', he receives a phone call, tipping him off about Alex, prompting him to abandon the rumpo, much to the displeasure of his 'Highland Fling' (with her heartfelt lament of "Where the fuck are you going, you haven't even come yet?")

("Listen you slag, I'm paying you....Now get your kit on and fuck off!")

It seems that Randells number is up, as we witness him getting blown away, whilst reading ill-fated newspaper 'TODAY' (oh the embarrassment!) in his garden, by an unseen assailant. Whilst we ponder such double and triple crosses, we are treat to a (obligatory) round of 'Tooling-Up' and 'Photo Burning' , as Walker jumps in his Ford Fiesta, and heads out on the road marked 'Revenge.

(Mr Lovebuckets 'Exploding Tonic Water' gets them every time)

Staking out Randell's factory, Walker goes about 'Seagaling' a whole bunch of guards in a brutal fashion (using guns, rusty saws and his fists and fingers of fury) whilst still having time for the occasional 'war' flashback (this one has a certain Major Lennox, so now we've established 'previous' between them, you just know there's gonna be a shitstorm when these two hard bastards throw down)


Poor Marcus is gutted (literally and graphically) by Walker, during his onslaught on the compound. All Lennox can do is shout foul-mouthed 'Chris Tarrant-isms' down his walkie-talkie, to his ever-dwindling troops. Upon finding Alexs' bloody and battered corpse, walker goes apeshit, killing a shitload of guards, before cauterising a gunshot wound, teaming up with Jimmy (who's become a good guy) and finally squaring off with Lennox, in a battle Royale Mano-O-Mano, kung-fu-athon (replete with more flashbacks, a car chase, explosions and a human fireball) Walker gets his 'Sudden Fury', but exits the movie in a shot up car, badly wounded and screaming for his life.

(Once Upon A Time In The SouthEast)

SUDDEN FURY filled an important void in my life, when i was becoming disillusioned with low budget, independent cinema. Sure, some of the performances are a little hokey. But trust me, you've not lived til you've heard Victor D Thorn shout "WALKER!!!!" down a walkie-talkie (that said, he's great at shouting "MITCHELL!!" down a mobile phone, as well) Budgetory flaws aside, it's a stunning debut and it has a genuine passion for the genre and it's fans. No amount of Hollywood mega dollars can buy what this movie has (heart and a love for not only it's source material, but for it's audience) It can easily sit alongside Jim Van Bebbers DEADBEAT AT DAWN, Lindsay Shonteff's HOW SLEEP THE BRAVE and David Kent-Watson's G.B.H. (take these four movies, add alcohol, and have a great movie me, be there, done that!)

("I told you about my 'Saw Neck' in confidence, and you went ahead and spilt your guts anyhow")

It takes guts (in every sense of the word) to pull of such stuff with a low budget....But also a certain skill, to make it so damn entertaining. As my review for his recent A DAY OF VIOLENCE stated, Darren Ward is a name to look out for. Whereas Tarantino needs to spend $80m to make a movie look low budget...Ward is the polar opposite. May his hunger remain and keep him true to the medium, he's clearly so passionate about?

(Burn Baby Burn, Tesco Inferno)

SUDDEN FURY is a blood soaked B-movie Ballet of Brutality. And if you like the look of this movie, be sure to buy it's upcoming DVD re-release (on the 28th of Febuary...wahey...on my sisters birthday!)

Features include:

Deleted Scenes
Extended Scenes
Applying the gore (40min makeup footage)
Photo Gallery

Nightmares (multi award winning short film 10mins, 2004 Super16)
Bitter Vengeance (17min short film that Sudden Fury is based on)
Audio Commentary (Director Darren Ward & actor Nick Rendell)

New Featurette - '12 years on the Fury still burns' (32mins) including David Warbecks unseen death scene!!!

I defy any self respecting fan of Horror, Crime, Exploitation, Gore, Indie movies not to be blown away by this sick and twisted shocker. Highly Recommended!

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