Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangsterRay Liotta as Henry Hill, Goodfellas
This is my favourite quote from one of the greatest gangster films of all time, Goodfellas. And one understands the sentiment as there is something glamorous about the gangster life. The power, the guns, the fancy cars, the women. It’s a quite the fantasy. That is until you get arrested and put away for life, or another gangster sends you to meet your maker with a well-placed bullet or the blunt end of baseball bat. Not so glamourous then.
Well low budget Jamaican gangster flick Long Run Short Catch is not among the greatest gangster films ever, nor would I even call it a “great” film. But if you just want some raw, bloody bad man action then there is some entertainment to be found here.
So what’s the plot? Come on, no one is watching the movie for the plot. Okay, fine. A drug deal gets sabotaged by an opportunistic gangster which sparks an all out gangster war. The film stars dancehall artistes Ova Dose, Brilliant and Book Fi Look. I have no idea who any of them are (my dancehall days were circa Beenie Man and King of the Dancehall) and confusingly enough they all use their dancehall monikers as their character names. So are they playing versions of themselves? Are they gangsters in real life? Is this a true story? Might I be over thinking this?
On the positive side, the acting feels authentic though very stereotypical. And there is a lot of bad boy posturing, gunplay and buckets of fake blood. There is one particular scene with a chainsaw and I was like dang! They went there. And it keeps up a pretty good pace.
On the negative side, the production values are what you would expect for a film of this budget. The scene transitions are repetitive. The gun flare effects were clearly added in post and on the cheap. There are some audio issues where it is difficult to hear what the characters are saying. And the dialogue is all in Jamaican patois without any subtitles. I’m relatively fluent in patois (*dusts shoulder*) but those who are not may be a bit lost at times. Though it’s not too hard to figure out what is going on. And director Brilliant must be a Zack Snyder fan because there is a lot of slo mo. Like A LOT. Even in scenes where it makes no sense, including an awkward and entirely unnecessary sex scene.
The film has a lot of characters but there is no clear hero or villain. It is just a bunch of bad people doing bad things to other bad people. They try to make you care about one guy but I honestly forgot who he was. I was just here for the gangster on gangster on violence and the film does deliver that in spades. The film is “Part One” and the main plot thread is left untied. But it came out since 2015 and I could not find Part Two anywhere on the ‘Tube. Part One was solid enough to stand on its own. And more than 1.5 million people watched it on YouTube (that’s about half entire the Jamaican population) so somebody liked it. Maybe you will too.
Editor Jules’s Score: 5.5 out of 10
You can watch Long Run Short Catch for yourself by clicking here. And you can check out more Caribbean gangster films below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.