Shiner (2000) starring Michael Caine, Martin Landau, Frances Barber, Frank Harper, Andy Serkis, Danny Webb, Claire Rushbrook, Matthew Marsden directed by John Irvin Movie Review

Shiner (2000)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Michael Caine in Shiner (2000)

Caine's Learing Cockney Crime Boss

Having been banned from the big fight game, minor criminal and boxing promoter Billy “Shiner” Simpson (Michael Caine - The Cider House Rules) still has connections to the business especially as he believes his son Eddie (Matthew Marsden - Rambo) is going to win a world title. But the night of the fight doesn't go smoothly and after the police raid the event Billy and Eddie go on the run with Billy believing that his son took a dive whilst also wondering whether the bookies he owes money to will catch up to him. When Eddie is shot dead it sends Billy in to a state of paranoia as he goes after anyone he thinks may have been involved in his son's murder and the botched fight night.

Back in 1998 Guy Ritchie gave us "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" a modern cockney crime movie which was snappy, violent, funny and not the sort of thing you would watch if you were easily offended. Now if anyone was perfect for one of these sorts of movies it is Michael Caine but unfortunately "Shiner" is not the movie as whilst it has the characters and some similar ideas it lacks the snap that this sort of movie needs.

Frank Harper in Shiner (2000)

What that means is that for around thirty minutes "Shiner" is entertaining with Michael Caine doing what he does best, playing a cocky cockney criminal who has a way of saying things which are threatening and comical. Then we have his two semi inept heavies in Andy Serkis and Frank Harper who have that bickering double act down pat and give us such comedy as rolling a car out of the way which is blocking the way when they drive up a one way street the wrong way.

The trouble is that once we get past those first 30 minutes and the set up is in place with Eddie wanting revenge the movie starts to struggle. Yes there is more humour as well as violence but this is where that snappy edge which Guy Ritchie gave his movies would have come in to play and saved this. Instead "Shiner" goes from being okay and having potential to struggling to stay okay.

The one thing which "Shiner" has going for it is the stars and whilst the character of Billy plays right in to Michael Caine's comfort zone there is nothing wrong with that as no one does the cocky, slightly comical cockney criminal better than Caine. But just as good is the double act of Andy Serkis and Frank Harper as Eddie's heavies. In fact the entire cast play their parts well with Frances Barber and Claire Rushbrook giving us one of the movies many surprising scenes when as Eddie's daughters they attack each other.

What this all boils down to is that "Shiner" could have been another really good cockney crime movie but after an entertaining build up which has Michael Caine doing what he does best it then starts to struggle and lacks the snap which modern cockney crime movies need.

Tags: Boxing Movies