Its only value is that it can serve as a lesson on how not to make a movie.
6 Ways to Die
With his sophomore effort, writer-director Nadeem Soumah delivers 6 Ways to Die, a prime contender for worst film of the year. Full of poor acting, clumsy direction and an incredibly clichéd, needlessly convoluted script, the most value this film carries is that it can act as a guidebook on how not to make a movie. It’s the kind of disaster that would be funny to watch if it weren’t so infuriatingly self-serious and devoid of any real attempts to entertain. It’s a film so poorly realized that most any other crime film, no matter the quality, would look like a masterpiece in comparison.
The film follows the execution of a multi-layered, years in the making plan in which John Doe (Vinnie Jones) seeks revenge against Sonny ‘Sundown’ Garcia (Michael Rene Walton). Sonny was once a good friend and a partner in crime to John Doe before betraying him and ascending the ranks to become the top narcotics distributor for the Colombian cartels (a fact that is mentioned several times in the film to nauseating effect). John’s plan consists of killing Sonny by taking six things from him: his freedom, his love, his reputation, his most valued possession, all his money, and his life. In one of the most mind-numbingly bizarre stylistic choices the film has to offer, the revenge plot is shown in reverse beginning with Sonny’s murder at the hands of a contract killer (Chris Jai Alex) and each step concluding with a ‘One Week Earlier’ title card until the film has finally arrived at the beginning. And with each flashback, a new character is introduced as part of the revenge plot, and as a result, another actor gets a chance to embarrass themselves under the guidance of Soumah’s poor script and direction.
As bad as the acting is, it’s hard to really dissect it seeing as how basically every character in the film is played the exact same way. Outside of Sonny’s heavily underwritten wife Steph (Dominique Swain) and the annoying tech geek Hunter (Jeff Galfer), every character is a mostly silent, brooding, intense figure. And then there’s Vinnie Jones, who essentially acts as walking exposition and only appears to relay the story of betrayal for each new flashback (yes, all six of them) with bits of new information each time. None of these actors could say they’re above typical B-movie action films, yet somehow this still feels like an incredible waste of their time.
But it’s really Soumah who is at fault here. His script is full of unnecessary clichés, a pointlessly convoluted structure, and the stiffest characters assembled on screen this year. His direction is no better. It’s as if someone took Michael Mann and stripped him of all his vision. The film reeks of a desire to look “cool” and “slick,” but it comes across as a humorless parody of that style. The opening scene with Mike Jones (Tom Sizemore) is a perfect example of this, as Soumah consistently cuts from a close-up of Sizemore to several different angled close-ups of Sizemore back-to-back-to-back as if to breathe some intensity into the scene. It’s the type of scene that plays to amusing effect in something like Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, but here is delivered with such sincerity that it feels like a joke Soumah isn’t in on. The film also features a few glaring technical issues, like when a shootout includes a few poorly exposed or color-corrected shots. It’s jarring in the worst way.
And then to top it all off, 6 Ways to Die ends with one of the most asinine, ridiculous twists that I’d say needs to be seen if it weren’t for the torturous hour and 35 minutes preceding it. This twist is so laughable, it feels insulting. 6 Ways to Die is sure to go down as one of the worst films of the year if it’s not completely overlooked, although I think that might be for the best.