Dead Man Down makes Terrance Howard 2/2 with movies he's in that have flopped this year. The script is ambitious, trying to give you multiple stories and twists. It gives you romance, action, and drama, but still falls flat. You can see plot twists coming a mile away and nothing is really strong enough to truly reel you in.
Dead Man Down did not get a lot of air time with its commercials. If you were fortunate to see a trailer for the film, what draws you in is the big name cast members: Colin Farrell, Terrance Howard and the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Noomi Rapace. Other than that, it just looks like another gangster-mob film --which it is. It is entertaining to watch these talented actors at their craft and they are what saves the predictable writing.
The problem with the script may be that it tries to twist and turn too many times. Movies with a lot of surprises should keep you on your toes, but they are so easy to see coming in this one that it does not draw you in. The worst part of the script, however, is it tries so hard to be a serious action/mob drama and then ends on a completely cheesy note. The last two lines are so sappy that when you realize what was said you try not to chuckle. The last image of the film also goes against everything Colin Farrell was working towards through the entire hour and fifty minute film. It just seemed like too much gushy stuff crammed in to wrap up the characters' arcs.
Dead Man Down could have done a lot less and been a better film. There were too many "shocking" moments that were not even surprising. The casting choices were decent, and the big names probably helped ticket sales since its trailers were few and far between onscreen. It is a mediocre film and you can wait until it comes to DVD to check it out.