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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > Britain > Left For Dead (2004)

Left For Dead


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Main Program: C



We like trying something different here at the site and a digitally produced Martial Arts/Gangster project would be interesting.  Ross Boyask’s Left For Dead (2004) is determined to show as much fighting action as possible without allowing it to become a UFC program, which means it has a very loose and feeble script where the reason for the fighting are British mobsters.  However, this is one American who has seen more than enough British TV and feature films in both cases to know how far this does not go.


So someone who is assassinated does not die and wants revenge.  That is the basis for almost every bad 1980s Hollywood action production and most of them did not need any mob.  I like some of the fighting here and the graphicness is not bad, but the problematic editing and phony look of the video undercuts their impact.  We get plenty of unsolicited materials for this site and some of them are “martial arts comedies” where younger teens and early-20s adults kick each other around, but these are older adults with more skill.  Unfortunately, despite their ambitions and efforts, this is not much better than those fan boy projects.


Right now, Guy Ritchie’s Snatch and Matthew Vaughn’s lesser Layer Cake (made more relevant since its lead is suddenly the next James Bond) are the best-known British Gangster features.  Did these guys even watch these films?  Did they see Peter Medak’s The Krays or really pay attention to what they were doing?  After an intended Cannes debut, almost half of this was reshot.  This shows a lack of vision, if not enthusiasm.  Some people are enjoying this work as a cult item, but in the end, none of the moves, lines or story is memorable.  They have done some more work since, so this was hopefully a turning point.


The 1.78 X 1 letterboxed image is from low-definition digital video, likely PAL oriented, and is not bad, but the shaky camerawork is one of the biggest downfalls of the production.  It makes the good stuff look cheaper than it needs to and the bad stuff worse.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo has some Pro Logic surrounds, but dialogue is a tad lower than it should be form the location shooting.  The use of Hip-Hop/Rap music is a mess, though the Space Raiders record Middles Boogie is a plus.  There are no extras, but should have been.  Left For Dead is only for the most curious.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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