The Henchman's War (NR)

Drama 80 December 31, 1969
By Calum Marsh
It remains surprising and dispiriting just how often independent filmmakers, who are free to create whatever sort of film they’d like, choose simply to reflect the inherited forms and conventions of a multiplex history—retreating into the safety of tradition, compulsively regurgitating cliché. The highest creative aspiration of The Henchman’s War, a particularly dreary work of no-budget mimicry, seems to be to replicate the look and feel of a straightforward mainstream thriller, straining at every turn to imitate the sheen and glamor of studio expense. To be fair, its spectacular failure to do so is at least partly the fault of circumstance and means: Making a few thousand dollars do the work of many millions remains next to impossible. It is easy to forgive The Henchman’s War for looking amateurish and cheap—it was made cheaply by amateurs. But given the narrow scope of its ambition, the film doesn’t offer much else to admire. Writer-director Anthony M. Greene has put precious little thought or effort into such niceties as theme, character or psychological shading, perhaps hoping that a vague impression of gangster-movie cool will be enough to round out the film. Stock types flex and posture tiresomely, stopping on occasion to utter something banal or fire off a blank. This isn’t even sub-Tarantino — it’s sub–Troy Duffy.
A.M. Greene Rick Kain, Robert Leembruggen, Alexander Yi, Jane E. Petkofsky, Everett Rodd, Paul Sieber A.M. Greene Skyrocket Produtions


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