Cinema Review: 6 Ways To Die | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, October 23rd, 2020  

6 Ways To Die

Studio: eOne
Written and Directed by Nadeem Soumah

Jul 29, 2015 Web Exclusive
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Sonny "Sundown" Garcia (Michael Rene Walton) might be the most powerful and richest cocaine dealer in North America, but that doesn’t mean he’s un-killable. John Doe (Vinnie Jones) wants Sundown dead, and he’ll spare no expense to make it happen. Fueled by a thirst for revenge, Doe wants Sundown to suffer before he dies, so he hires six assassins and tasks each with destroying something the drug lord loves—his empire, his marriage, his money, the loyalty of his underlings, his confidence, and finally his life.

Cinematographer turned writer-director Nadeem Soumah’s film sounds like an interesting take on the revenge thriller, but it fails to live up to its hint of promise, and the shortcomings all rest on Soumah’s shoulders. For starters, Soumah structures the picture in what winds up being the least engaging way possible. Rather than follow a three act structure which sees the various assassins’ maneuvering against Sundown take their compounded toll on the kingpin over the film’s 103 minutes, Soumah presents the film as a series of six vignettes. Each “assassination” takes place individually over the course of six weeks. Never does Sundown face more than one antagonist at a time, which, given how protected and cunning he is, seems the wrong way to go about taking down a ruthless coke peddler. This segmented approach has the additional effect of disconnecting the audience from every single character. Sundown and Doe are the only commonalities between each chapter, and while Soumah tells their sordid history through multiple flashbacks, he overdoes it with too-frequently-repeated snippets of the same scene. Everyone else we meet is gone within 15 minutes, so there’s no reason to forge a relationship with any of them—and that’s not even accounting for the fact that Soumah tells his tale in reverse chronological order; he opens with the final hit (Sundown’s actual death), and then works his way back to the least engaging assassinations. Equally frustrating is that we’re forced to watch John Doe tell every single assassin that he wants revenge against Sundown. By the third time we hear his tale of woe, it’s beyond redundant; by the sixth occurrence, it’s simply a waste of film, time, and quickly-evaporating interest.

I could go on about the film’s other flaws—weak acting accompanied by weak writing. I could point out that, for a film about hitmen, Soumah feels oddly compelled to shy away from showing any actual murders on film (how many close-ups of a smoking gun firing in slow-mo can a director really think he needs?). I could roast the film for its groan-inducing ending. Instead, I’m just going to boil it down to this: 6 Ways to Die could have been so much more than it is, which is nothing but another forgettable film.

Author rating: 2/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10



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