All the Devil’s Men, 2018.
Directed by Matthew Hope.
Starring Milo Gibson, Sylvia Hoeks, William Fichtner, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Elliot Cowan and Joseph Millson.
An elite bounty hunter squad work together to take down an international terrorist and a small private army.
All the Devil’s Men starts very much as it means to go on. Tense, well filmed action scenes, coupled with some ambiguity and a light dash of the cliché. We open with a view of Collins (Milo Gibson) doing upside down sit ups in a Marrakech bedsit before the action ramps up, with him executing a neatly planned assassination.
This leads him and his handler Leigh (Sylvia Hoeks) onto London with a small team to take down the CIA disavowed McKnight (Elliot Cowan). After a meeting with potential contact and Collins ex-solider friend Deighton (Joseph Milson) ends up going awry, the films takes us on a cat and mouse chase of various gritty East London locales, filled with double crosses and mistrust.
This is a pretty succinct action film, with nothing feeling over the top and the action feeling very much grounded in reality for the most part. The action scenes are tense and though Collins throughout the film seems to become closer and closer to the “one man army” type we’ve seen Jason Bourne and James Bond become over the years it feels far more grounded in reality and closer to war movie action scenes. The close combat fights are nicely choreographed and never feel confusing which it would have been very easy to slip into. East London definitely felt like a perfect backdrop with its old warehouses set against new age skyscrapers.
Plot wise this is a fairly straightforward affair, though that may just be that the turns that do happen throughout whilst not unpredictable are handled very well thus making the whole thing go pretty smoothly. Some of the character motivations that were layered in felt slightly unnecessary only because they never quite fully realise what they’re hinting towards as a statement on the toll of the “War on terror” but did note how everyone is disposable with it.
Milo Gibson is a highly watchable action star, though when trying to hit on some of the tougher emotions being asked for couldn’t quite get there. Joseph Milson was a standout in this as the charming yet highly malicious Deighton, as he felt threatening and highly believable as an ex-squaddie gone rogue. A lot of the other characterisations did feel like thriller/action movies archetypes, which didn’t give the other actors much to stand out from the crowd though no one let the film down either.
All the Devil’s Men was a compact, exciting movie. It was no-frills action, with the violence sitting a notch below gratuitous, with enough twists to keep you guessing how things might play out. Its strength lay in how well put together it was, moving forward constantly without apology or large parts of exposition. It showed what you needed to see and got on with it, much like the soldiers it portrayed.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★