Thursday, March 26, 2009

King of the Ants

The description blurb for King of the Ants described the film as film about a young hitman groomed by a local mobster. The description was enough to grab my interest. I was expecting a Gotti-type mobster film with an up-and-comer making his bones. Wrong. This film takes place in California with a group of wannabe mobsters that don’t have the stomach to do their own dirty work.

King of the Ants was written (both novel and screenplay) by Charlie Higson. Higson also co-produced this film. I am not familiar with Higson’s work, but it appears that he has done several other films as actor, producer and writer. King of the Ants being the last film that Higson wrote and produced in 2003. This film was not exceptional in any way. It wasn’t particularly bad, but it was forgettable.

Sean Crawley (Chris McKenna) ekes by doing odd jobs. His obvious lack of painting skills draws the attention of an electrician who stops by for a quick wiring repair. The electrician, “Duke” Wayne (George Wendt) tells Sean that he may be able to help him find some extra work. Sean takes Duke up on the offer and ends up tailing an accountant from city hall. The job escalates into a hit…which doesn’t take much arm-twisting. After the job is done, Sean realizes he is not going to get paid. Sean ends up in a cat-and-mouse game with the mobsters while he tries to gain the upper hand.

I had trouble with several aspects of this film. The acting was average at best. The mob (Ray Matthews) was played by Daniel Baldwin. Baldwin didn’t convince me of his ruthless nature. In fact, I found him to be laughable in the role. The casting as a whole just wasn’t very good. Chris McKenna was okay. His love interest is the wife of the man he kills, Susan Gatley (Kari Wuhrer). Wuhrer looked like she was still in one of her soap opera roles. The mob henchmen were juvenile. Much of the acting looked like shtick from a drama class. The acting left a lot to be desired.

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