You’d have hoped that, by now, we wouldn’t have any of these tired old cliched films or at least if we did, they’d be of the ‘straight-to-video’ type.
Hangman blows that theory out of the water. It sees cops Karl Urban (Acts Of Vengeance, Thor: Ragnarok) and Al Pacino (Scarface, The Godfather) as they race against time to find a serial killer who is using the hangman game as his way of toying with the police.
Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect, John Tucker Must Die) is a reporter who, somehow, has been allowed to follow Urban around to write a special report on detectives and the work they do.
At the first murder scene, Urban and Snow enter and Snow, not the seasoned professional detective, the reporter, notices that the murdered has etched his and Pacino’s badge number onto the desk.
That’s pretty much it for story. The plot is as thin as the characters, despite the whole motive for the hangman being history between he and Pacino and Urban, we know little about them.
Most of the time it’s Snow, that’s the reporter, not the detectives, not Pacino’s character who is now a retired detective, Snow who spots things and spots them first.
She manages to find a link between the murders and Urban with just a cursory single glance at an old case file she finds in his desk, for instance.
At one-point, Urban chases a suspect through some back alleys, over garages, getting very close to her at times and yet not once does he think, maybe I’ll draw my gun and tell her to stop, maybe wound her?
That’s perhaps forgivable. What’s not is that both Pacino and Urban, separately, have the opportunity to take the murderer down, both have their guns on him, and yet neither of them fire.
Urban’s is particularly laughable as, instead of focusing on the murderer stood in front of him, instead of going towards him or, I don’t know, paying attention to this killer. He takes his eyes off him, to look at Pacino on the floor and the murderer runs away.
I could go on and on: why don’t they try and figure out the word the hangman is trying to spell? It never even comes up. Why is a reporter still allowed to just tag along? Why do they never seem to have any backup or carry anything that will enable them to cut victims down, despite knowing he’s hanging them all?
Michael Caissie (Luke 11:17 (TV), In The Ashes (Short)), Charles Huttinger (Luke 11:17 (TV), Speak Of The Devil (TV)) and Phil Hawkins (The Last Showing, The Flying Lesson (Short)) are the writers with Johnny Martin (Delirium, Vengeance: A Love Story) behind the camera.
How Urban and Pacino found themselves in this, I have no idea. Perhaps that should be ‘why’ they’ve found themselves in this?
Let’s talk about the ending shall we? The ending sees a small boy come up to Urban and hand him a piece of paper with a “Hey Mister” (because, you know, this is the 80’s). On the paper is another hangman game with a letter filled in.
In the words of Will Smith, “Oh hell no”!