A ludicrous but heart-felt comedy action which pays homage to some of the cheesiest TV cop shows and action series of the late 70’s and early 80’s. If you remember “Bergerac“, “Starsky & Hutch” and “The 6 Million Dollar Man“, then you might just get a kick out of this film which takes place in the Isle of Man. Detective Bruce Mindhorn was imprisoned and tortured by the Russians. After escaping captivity, he has the ability to see truth and lies in people thanks to an experimental cybernetic eye.
Brief summary: 80’s cop show star returns to the public eye when he tries to hell police bring down a suspected killer.
Detailed Summary: Mindhorn was the biggest cop show in the 80’s, when it ended the lead actor Richard Thorncroft left his life behind to try and conquer Hollywood. 20 – 30 years later he is a failed actor and a failure in life. He is contacted by the police in his old stomping ground, the Isle of Man, to try and help capture a suspected killer. The potential bad guy is obsessed with the TV show “Mindhorn” and believes it to be real. Having made a lot of people on the Isle of Man unhappy though, it is the last place that Thorncroft wants to be, but he goes back anyway thinking that he could relight his failed career. He soon learns there is more to the suspected murder than meets the eye and has to face the truth of his life before he can help bring down the corruption on the island.
Film Stuff: This low budget independent film is directed by Sean Foley (also making a cameo appearance), who has some notable British TV series under his belt, this 89-minute action comedy is rated 15. It is written by Julian Barrett and Simon Farnaby who both star in it, based on Farnaby’s original idea. The Mindhorn character is something that has been seen before, having briefly made an appearance in an episode of cult TV series “The Mighty Boosh”. Expect to see over the top acting and ludicrous prosthetics and make up as this film takes a lot of inspiration from the stylings of the aforementioned TV series.
Casting: Julian Barrett plays Richard Thorncroft, aka Mindhorn. You may know him from cult TV program “The Mighty Boosh”. The character he plays in this is not a million miles away from the role he played in that. He is awkward and living in denial, he knows he is a failure but does not entirely believe he should be. Simon Farnaby stars as Clive Parnevik, Thorncroft’s one-time stunt man turned rival. Although his character is stereotypically European, there are some laughs to be garnered, especially when Barrett and Farnaby are in the same scene acting off each other. Essie Davies appears in this too as Richard’s one-time love interest, she plays this role well and is convincing in still having some feelings for Richard. Steve Coogan makes a brief appearance as a smug colleague of Richard’s who actually made it big off the back of the program. Russell Tovey gives a good performance as Paul Melly, the suspected murderer. I almost did not recognize Andrea Riseborough as DS Elena Baines – she is convincing as the lead investigator working under hard-faced Chief Inspector Derek Newsome (David Schofield). All in all, a decent casting with a few famous faces you may recognize from British TV and film, and cameo appearances from big hitters Sir Kenneth Brannagh and Simon Callow.
Wrap up: I like cheesy TV shows and movies that do not take themselves seriously and this is definitely one of those. It is not a massively original plot, it certainly is not glitzy and shiny, but this film does have a heart and it was able to tickle my funny bone too. The cast do a good job and the film is entertaining. Because of its relatively short runtime, and its good editing this film never feels like its dragging. With adult themes which will not be suitable for some audiences this film is aimed more so at people who are able to look back on the 70’s and 80’s and the rubbish cop shows that graced our screens. I would probably expect a British audience to enjoy this film more than American audiences, not because they would not have nostalgia at lame cop shows of yesteryear, but more because the humour in this film feels more British. I enjoyed this and would happily recommend it to others.