the fateful day of December 2, 2013, the Icelandic Police finally shot and
killed someone dead for the first time in their two hundred twenty-five-plus
year history. Instead of congratulations, they ordered a round of counseling
all around. Typically, the rank-and-file do not carry firearms, relying instead
on plenty of optimism. That arrangement suits the new Serbian kingpin in town
just fine. However, an Internal Affairs cop with a chip on his shoulder will
try launch a secret operation against the gangster and the high level officer
protecting him in Olaf de Fleur’s Brave
Men’s Blood (trailer
which launches today on VOD from Oscilloscope Laboratories.
Ámason’s old man was a legend on the force, but their relationship was always
rather frosty. It becomes even more so when he washes out of the elite training
program for the SWAT-like Armed Police division. Frankly, it is easy to read
plenty of resentment into his decision to subsequently take an Internal Affairs
posting. However, a major case with implications beyond the force drops in his
lap when old school gangster Gunnar Gunnarson requests a jailhouse meeting.
Having been pushed out by Sergej, the Serbian upstart, Gunnarson is slightly out
of sorts. As a last resort, he is willing to funnel information to Ámason that
will help him take down his rival and his chief protector, Narcotics Squad
chief Margeir, one of his dad’s old cronies.
it close to the vest, Ámason only recruits two allies: Ívar, the Armed Police squad
leader who formerly thought so little of him and Andreas, Margeir’s former protégé,
who has been assigned to desk duties following a violent assault. Yet, the bad
guys still catch wind of his operation, which puts his family directly in harm’s
de Fleur makes Twenty-First Century Reykjavik look like Chicago in the 1920s.
For such a violence-averse force, he manages to get the Armed coppers into a
heck of a lot of fire-fights (they’re going to need some serious counseling
after all this). He gives the super-slick Miami
Vice tradition a cool Nordic makeover, but he is a little too enamored with
the flashback as a narrative device. There are an awful lot of them in Blood, but some are much more effective
Ingolfsson slow burns perfectly well as the annoyingly moralistic Ámason, but
as is often the case in genre cinema, the colorful supporting cast really helps
make the film. Ingvar E. Sigurdsson is clearly having a blast as the devious
Gunnarson, while Sigurður Sigurjónsson oozes rodent-like oiliness. J.J. Field
also does his best Jude Law impression in his brief appearances as Sergej’s
British money man, chewing on as much scenery as time will allow.
is a sequel to de Fleur’s City State,
but no previous familiarity is required to enjoy the follow-up. It doesn’t even
feel like it is calling back to a previous film, but presumably it is even
richer if you have that background in your mental DVR. Frankly, nobody does
these sorts of films better than Hong Kong auteurs like Johnnie To and Andrew
Lau, but de Fleur makes a real go of it. Recommended for fans of stylishly
cynical crooked cops-and-gangster movies, Brave
Men’s Blood launches today (9/1) on VOD, from Oscilloscope Laboratories.
Labels: Cop Movies, Scandinavian Cinema, VOD