Movie date: Legend (M18)
Two Tom Hardys are definitely better than one
STARRING: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis, Duffy, Christopher Eccleston
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Brian Helgeland
THE SKINNY: The true story of identical twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray (Hardy), two of the most notorious criminals in British history, as told by Reggie’s wife Frances (Browning). Expect bar fights, violent murders and some romance in this peek into London’s East End crime scene during the 1960s.
MARS by JASON JOHNSON
Playing twins must be one of the most challenging yet enjoyable things for an actor to do.
Hardy obviously relished the opportunity to play the Kray brothers.
He gets to show his charming, romantic side as Reggie, and is equally adept as the thuggish yet comical Ronnie.
The only problem is that I think he might have gone overboard in differentiating them - the twins are so different that they hardly feel like twins.
I don't buy it.
I've never met a pair of twins that are that different. Mostly they're indistinguishable, like clones.
No offence, twins.
Anyway, aside from the twin angle, this is a fairly forgettable British gangster picture.
There's little flow from one scene to the next. It's very choppy.
Tonally, it's all over the map, a mishmash of drama and comedy, verity and fantasy.
Worse, the flick doesn't play fair, hitting us with a twist that comes out of nowhere.
Stuff needs to be foreshadowed please.
You have to build towards that kind of thing, not throw it in our faces.
Fortunately, Legend is still a reasonably entertaining movie in spite of its storytelling shortcomings.
VENUS by LISA TWANG
Two Tom Hardys are better than one.
So if you're a huge fan, congratulations - you've hit the jackpot.
He plays the smooth-talking Reggie and the psychopathic Ronnie. You even see them in a knuckle-busting, teeth-smashing fight.
The trouble with having two lead characters who are such opposites is that they can appear cartoonish.
Ronnie, the slower twin, certainly comes off that way. His eyes bug out at every opportunity, and he constantly speaks as though drool is coming out of his mouth.
It's a bit too on the nose to play a psycho who is so obviously psychotic.
The best thing about Legend is that it's set in 1960s London, which is just so swinging cool. The soundtrack certainly reflects that, with lots of soul tunes to go with the action. Heck, even Brit singer Duffy makes a cameo.
As a female viewer, I was rather annoyed by Browning's Frances. As a gangster's wife, she seems to have no personality whatsoever - her defining character trait is a love of lemon sherbets.
That's right, the woman is only good at eating candy and kissing a gangster boss at the same time.
Legend looks and feels stylish, but for a gangster tale, it isn't up there with the best.
THE CONSENSUS: Hardy as gangster twins is double the fun, but also double trouble for his film.