Criminal profiler Will Ruiney (Karl Urban) joins forces with veteran detective Ray Archer (Al Pacino) to catch a serial killer, while journalist Christi Davies (Brittany Snow) reports on the case.
The twenty-first century has not been kind to Al Pacino. The legendary star of The Godfather, Serpico and Heat has spent recent years toiling through collaborations with Adam Sandler and endless trashy thrillers. Unfortunately, Hangman does not mark a return to form for the veteran – in fact; this is arguably the lowest point in Pacino’s career.
Hangman is a woeful serial killer thriller that is poorly written, poorly acted and deadly dull. Karl Urban shouts his way through the tedious one hundred minute runtime. The talented star of Star Trek and Thor: Ragnarok does nothing more than barge through doors, gun in hand, yelling ‘Police, stop’, which is about as exciting as it sounds.
Pacino cannot even salvage the film. Sporting a bizarre southern American accent, the Academy Award winner looks as bored as the audience – this is his most tired performance to date. The understated brilliance of his work throughout the 1970s and 1980s couldn’t be further from this nonsense.
The film is directed by Johnny Martin. A stunt coordinator for over twenty years, Martin has worked on Se7en, Titanic and X-Men: First Class. Unfortunately, this success has not translated into directorial talent. His previous film, Vengeance: A Love Story, starred Nicolas Cage and was equally as dreadful as this effort.
Martin’s work on the 1995 thriller Se7en is of particular note. Hangman clearly aims to replicate the twists and turns of David Fincher’s classic. However, it misses the mark by a considerable distance. Every plot development is telegraphed – the film offers nothing that has not been seen before. As a result, interest wanes around half way through and is entirely lost by the time that the killer is revealed. It is truly empty thriller that is executed with all the panache of a Channel 5 drama and offers more yawns than thrills.
It is bizarre that a great like Pacino has chosen to spend his latter years working for such journeymen directors as Martin and Shintaro Shimosawa (who helmed 2016’s Misconduct). Hopefully Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, which stars Pacino, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci and will be released next year, will offer Pacino a fitting vehicle for his boundless talents.
Hangman is available on VOD from Monday 4th June
Last modified: 10th October 2018