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  Kill Ben Lyk It's All In The Execution
Year: 2018
Director: Erwan Marinopoulos
Stars: Eugene Simon, Dimitri Leonidas, Simone Ashley, Martyn Ford, Ashley Thomas, Scroobius Pip, Gretchen Egolf, Bronson Webb, Andrew Hall, Dan Cade, Adam Astill, Bruce Mackinnon, Charlie Rawes, Daz Black, Ania Gauer, Alexandra Naoum, James Chalmers
Genre: Comedy, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ben Lyk is dressed in a suit of armour for a spot of King Arthur roleplay with his beloved Guinevere, but just as it is all going terribly well, who should arrive but a masked gunman who asks him his name. When the lady is shot dead, he begs for his life, but ends up just like her - now the police are involved, they trace a pattern and realise someone is murdering people called Ben Lyk. One of those people is a YouTube vlogger (Eugene Simon) whose shtick is that he ends up whacked upside the head more often than not, but he has managed to amass a fair number of followers despite the paucity of his wit. Understandably, his latest video details his barely-contained panic that he may be next on the hitlist, and recruits his flatmate Roberto (Dimitri Leonidas) to concoct an escape plan - but the cops are on to him, and have a plan of their own to put the escalating carnage to an end.

If the phrase "British gangster comedy" makes your blood freeze in its veins, or possibly makes you reflect they're not making them like The Wrong Arm of the Law anymore, perhaps you should give Kill Ben Lyk a wide berth, as it may not be your cup of tea, but if you did feel generous and gave it a go, you would discover a comedy that may not be a masterpiece, but was surprisingly acceptable given its genre. It was a French/British co-production behind the scenes, though before them there was a largely British ensemble who went some way to making this watchable; it was not in possession of many absolute belly laughs, but every so often there would be a smart line that summed up the irreverence in the face of the impending doom and prompted a genuine chuckle rather than an impatient eyeroll.

With vloggers being the butt of many a joke online, often the butt of their own jokes, it had to be said, the protagonist was a caricature of every know-nothing, fame hungry but talent-free would be personality cluttering up the streaming services, a status the film was happy to encourage so we would be looking down on this Ben from a great height from the off. Simon played this whiny, entitled eejit to the hilt, but thanks to some decent lines he was offered and a growing resourcefulness for his character development (yes, there was some) we started to warm to him in much the same way we would Bob Hope in one of his comedy thrillers, tolerating the raging cowardice perhaps because at least his reactions were honest and we knew where we stood with him with regards the murderous peril he and the other Bens were in.

The police assemble every Ben Lyk they can find, which must take some doing, it's a curious name for the project to choose, obviously Kill John Smith or Kill Steve Jones would be prohibitive to create, but it does make you pause as you tried to work out if there was a pun involved (collecting "Likes"?). At a countryside safe house, our Ben blows their cover by smuggling out a video, which alerts the gangsters they can now kill all their birds with one stone, apparently because the Mr Big is convinced someone of their moniker witnessed and filmed one of his gangland executions, and he needs to eradicate the lead. The Bens included rapper Scroobius Pip, and the only female Ben, Simone Ashley, who our hopeless protagonist is convinced is so-called because she was male to female transgender, and is juggling "Not that there's anything wrong with that!" reservations with an attraction to her she keeps toying with. That the movie lived up to its title was no surprise, though it could seem callous, and the punchline was fair, yet did not quite justify the admittedly brief mayhem. Not bad, for all that, it was fleet-footed and energetic within its means. Music by Romain Vissol.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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