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The Limey Review

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Wilson (Terence Stamp) is an ageing Cockney gangster who arrives, blinking, in sunny Los Angeles to avenge his daughter's death. The trail leads - pretty much straightaway - to slimy record producer, Terry Valentine (Fonda), and Wilson is soon meting out his East End brand of justice upon LA's badfolk.

★★★★★

After the irrepressibly hip Elmore Leonard adaptation Out Of Sight, it looked as if Steven Soderbergh had finally emerged from the wilderness, ten years after flashing his calling card (Sex, Lies and Videotape).

It is testament to his apparent resolve to remain unfamous that a film as bemusing as The Limey should be his follow-up. Where Out Of Sight was sexy, intelligent and commercial, this is stilted, slight and, at best, truly bizarre.

Terence Stamp, whose presence in any film is categorically always a pleasure, never a chore, plays Wilson, an ageing Cockney gangster who arrives, blinking, in sunny Los Angeles to avenge his daughter's death. The trail leads - pretty much straightaway - to slimy record producer, Terry Valentine (Fonda), and Wilson is soon meting out his East End brand of justice upon LA's badfolk.

The Limey is little more than a garden-variety fish-out-of-water yarn. It's like Lenny MacLean walked off the set of Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels into the next Tarantino film: nice idea on paper, but an uneasy balance between brutal tension and outright comedy on screen.

Worse, it's unclear whether Stamp's outbursts are supposed to be funny or not, and in a script this leaden, you don't know who to trust. Wilson's dialogue bounces from anachronistic Americanism ("She wrote me" instead of "She wrote to me"), to improbable rhyming slang, which then has to be translated for the Yanks - very tiresome.

The iconic casting of two '60s has-beens, plus cultish supporting turns from Barry Newman and Joe Dallesandro, almost generate the required knowing wink, but the result remains a thinly-plotted, overstylised pantomime which runs out of juice as rapidly as a clockwork toy.

A thinly-plotted, overstylised pantomime which runs out of juice as rapidly as a clockwork toy.