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Kill The Irishman - Blu-ray Review

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Kill the Irishman - blu-ray review


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4 stars

There’s an underdog sense of determination that hounds this low-budget production about the true life adventures of Danny Greene.   Writer-director Jonathan Hensleigh's mobster movie might telegraph a bit more than it should but it is an admirable attempt and an entertaining ride through Cleveland’s underground circa the late 1970s.  With a fine sense of period-era locations, Kill the Irishman might not fully dazzle its audience like a Scorsese picture but it certainly explodes like one.

Loaded with a star-studded cast that name drops like nothing else, Kill the Irishman has its roots in a novel, To Kill the Irishman, by Rick Porello.  The film is dramatically heightened by a fabulous performance by Ray Stevenson as the charismatic Danny Greene, an Irish-American shore worker who became a crime boss and then, later, took on the mob after assonating one of its cherished own.  Written by Hensleigh and Jeremy Walters, Kill the Irishman has its fair share of Goodfellas comparisons but – with a cast that includes Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, Robert Davi, and (the beautiful) Linda Cardellini – manages to justify its existence in the already crowded gangster genre.

The steely eye of Karl Walter Lindenlaub provides the gritty look of the film.  Using a mix of era footage and interviews and mixing it with some tight location shooting, Lindenlaub allows for the picture to pull of an importance all of its own.  The merging of era footage with the new is nearly flawless and adds to the film’s overall production in that it immerses its audience in the era of the 1970s.  It might never kick its gangster feel vibe, but – when all things are considered – the film depicts a pretty valuable bit of American history as well.

The film is true to its urban flair; the streets are grimy and wise and just as bloody as any New York or Las Vegas gangster picture.  Rough and ready, Hensleigh brings the action through the screen with a solid right hook and a slick pacing of events that never runs aground.  Maybe it isn’t as true-to-life as it advertises, but it is entertaining and, while Greene never comes off as heroic or power-hungry, he is certainly relatable as a man of action when the chips are down.

According to the movie, Cleveland – during the days of Greene and his war against the mob – the town was victim of over 30 car bombs and countless assignation attempts.  It is loaded with racial and cultural stereotypes and – as if it actually is the 1970s all over again – never makes an attempt to placate the more sensitive members of its audience.  Kill the Irishman is gritty and realistic and full of promising examples of what low budget affairs can actually do for the medium of film.


{2jtab: Film Details}

Kill the Irishman - blu-ray reviewMPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content/nudity.
: Jonathan Hensleigh
Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh
Cast: Ray Stevenson; Vincent D'Onofrio; Val Kilmer; Christopher Walken; Linda Cardellini; Tony Darrow; Robert Davi
Genre: Biography | Crime | Thriller
Tagline: Based on the true story of Danny Greene the man the mob couldn't kill
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'm an Irish Catholic with the grace of God on my shoulder."
Anchor Bay Films
Release Date:
March 11, 2011
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 14, 2011

Synopsis: Over the summer of 1976, thirty-six bombs detonate in the heart of Cleveland while a turf war raged between Irish mobster Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson) and the Italian mafia. Based on a true story, "Kill the Irishman" chronicles Greene's heroic rise from a tough Cleveland neighborhood to become an enforcer in the local mob. Turning the tables on loan shark Shondor Birns (Christopher Walken) and allying himself with gangster John Nardi (Vincent D'Onofrio), Greene stops taking orders from the mafia and pursues his own power. Surviving countless assassination attempts from the mob and killing off anyone who went after him in retaliation, Danny Greene's infamous invincibility and notorious fearlessness eventually led to the collapse of mafia syndicates across the U.S. and also earned him the status of the man the mob couldn't kill.


{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Kill the Irishman - blu-ray review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

5 Stars

Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - June 14, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

Kill the Irishman’s 1080p transfer is yet another in a long line of knock-out punches delivered by Anchor Bay.  Dark in colors and hues, the blue-gray palette is ripe with detail and striking urban visuals.  Fine detail – including the smallest of wrinkles in a leather jacket – is prime with moments of clarity and the sound  - presented in Dolby True HD 5.1 mix - is solid, too.



  • None

Special Features:

While it does come with an hour-long documentary about Danny Greene, the disc contains no information about the making of the film or how the actors were acquired and the process that took.  It’s a bit of a letdown, considering what this low-budget movie does for the genre.

  • Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall Of The Irishman (61 min)
  • Trailer

{2jtab: Trailer}



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