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Knuckledust (2020) Review

When the police force get a call of distress from a secret underground fighting club, they are shocked to find dead bodies with only one man still standing. As the police force interrogate Hard Eight (Moe Dunford) to find out what happened, they are faced with a situation that quickly gets out of hand.

James Kermack directs, writes and performs the role of MacCready in ‘Knuckledust’ and continues his run of form by creating independent movies. After his well-received feature debut ‘Hi-Lo Joe’, Kermack veers from the drama/thriller genre to an action blood fest. His inspiration of action and Guy Ritchie movies is evident throughout ‘Knuckledust’ with subtle nods towards the likes of ‘John Wick’, ‘The Raid’ and one scene in particular, Park Chan Wook’s 2003 classic ‘Oldboy’. These are all great examples of a perfect movie, especially within their genres, but they are a high mark to imitate without substance. Kermack certainly shows that his film making abilities are professional and one to hone in further, but, the screenplay itself isn’t a strong point. The story itself isn’t necessarily the problem, the issue we have is that there seems to be an overload of characters in the film that overfill the plot. Constantly veering from one set of characters to another makes it difficult for the film to take off. This hinders the films ability to come to a satisfactory conclusion. But, some of the characters are enjoyable and definitely deserved more screen time to help elevate ‘Knuckledust’ further. One of them being the director himself, James Kermack. His character MacCready is easily one of the most natural on screen and feels completely genuine. A character that you can identify with immediately and one that brings a few laughs throughout.

A notable strong point to ‘Knuckledust’ is the choreography in the fight sequences. Looking at the poster you would expect a lot more than what you are actually served during its 105 minute runtime, but when we are finally treated to a fight scene, it’s well-executed and enjoyable enough to watch. Obviously our hope was that there would be more on show, especially when the title of the film is called ‘Knuckledust’. If Kermack decided to lean a little more towards the likes of ‘John Wick’ and ‘The Raid’ and upped the ante on the action, and a little less on the gangster, multiple character themed plot, we would have enjoyed this a lot more than we did.

‘Knuckledust’ is worth catching when it hits VOD on December 11th. It may well be the movie that helps break the gap of the marathon of Christmas movies that we are all watching at the moment.

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