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June 2010

Bad Day

cast: Claire Goose, Donna Air, Sarah Harding, Robbie Gee, and Anthony Ofoegbu

director: Ian David Diaz

105 minutes (18) 2009
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Isis DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 4/10
review by Ian Sales

Bad Day

There are things to like about Bad Day, and there are things to dislike. It is an independent British film, without embarrassingly low production values. Its stars play their roles well. It features a trio of strong female characters and it passes the Bechdel test with flying colours. On the other hand, the dialogue is mostly terrible, and several of the supporting cast are embarrassingly bad.

Rebecca Ryan (Claire Goose) is an undercover cop. She is working as a driver for a minicab company run by Harry McCann (George Calil), brother of Marla McCann (Rianna Husselman). Harry was a gangster but now he wants to go straight - and he loves Rebecca (although, of course, he doesn't know that she's a cop). Marla, however, is still very much a criminal, and she doesn't trust Rebecca. One day, Rebecca returns home to discover that her young daughter has been shot and killed. Convinced that Marla is responsible, Rebecca goes on a rampage through London, hunting for Marla and leaving a trail of dead bodies behind her. It's up to detectives Darius Cruise (Anthony Ofeogbu) and Abby Barnett (Donna Air) to find Rebecca before she completely destroys the years-long investigation into the McCann gang being run by Benjamin Radcliffe (Robbie Gee).

Claire Goose is best known for her role in the excellent BBC drama series Waking The Dead, although she left the series in 2004. She certainly proves in Bad Day that she can carry a feature film. In fact, she's the best thing in it; although Calil and Gee are also very good. Television presenter Donna Air makes a halfway decent fist of her role, but she slips a little too often. Ofoegbu, co-writer of Bad Day and better known as a theatre actor, plays his role deadpan, and renders dull and forgettable what could have been an interesting character. Sarah Harding of Girls Aloud is just plain bad.

Bad Day has three strong female leads in Rebecca, Abby and Marla, but it's perhaps more notable for the fight scenes involving these three characters. Few serious films feature women fighting each other, and it's to Bad Day's credit that these fights are not gratuitous. They're also well-choreographed. Sadly, some of the violence in other parts of the film is somewhat cartoon-ish - especially the torture by Rebecca of small-time criminal Trigg (Tom Bacon).

Unfortunately, there's a disconnect while watching Bad Day. Writer and director Ian David Diaz - this is his third feature - states in a featurette on the DVD that Bad Day is a deliberate homage to US cop films of the 1980s, which certainly explains the violence and the easy use of guns throughout the film. However, it's set in 21st century London. The violence and bloodshed seems out of place. It makes Bad Day feel more like pastiche than homage, which is a bit of a shame. I wanted to like this film more than I did, and if the filmmakers had spent more time on the script perhaps it would have proven more likeable.



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