If you love them mobster movies featuring up-and-coming wise guys in the 70s- then have I got a film for you. It's like a slightly gentler Goodfellas, but without Joe Pesci…and not quite as good. Though on the bright side, lots of character actors who may have been hurting after the Sopranos finale got some work out of this decent (if not standout) film.
Based on a true story, Kill the Irishman starts with our protagonist Danny Greene (played by Ray Stevenson) tooling around town in his sweet 70s ride. Then we see smoke from the cassette player followed by the car exploding. But wait – it seems somehow Danny, the "Irishman" of the title has survived, and he's shouting to the winds about how it's gonna take more than a bomb to kill him. Then the flashback starts, and Val Kilmer begins to tell the tale.
Kilmer, who has unfortunately decided not to star in The Worst Lieutenant, is a detective who grew up with Danny. He explains that Danny was an athlete who didn't enjoy school and and grew up to work on the docks. But he's a reader. And as they say that's fundamental. At least to his success at outsmarting folks. Which he does fairly often when he's not punching them repeatedly.
Long story short, Danny rises through the criminal ranks, tussles with the Italian mafia, finds and loses women and makes loyal friends. Basically the story you sort of know and love. The film is well presented and Danny is likable as a guy who one has got to suspect wasn't quite as nice as he's portrayed. Or maybe he was – what do I know?
I can't really say Kill the Irishman raises the bar on genre mob films. But it's decent enough to watch, so enjoyable enough while it lasts. I don't strongly recommend it, but it's very much you get what you expect sort of affair. So if what you want looks and sounds a lot like Kill the Irishman you'll probably be satisfied with the experience.