09th Apr2014

‘Easy Money 2′ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Joel Kinnaman, Matias Varela, Dragomir Mrsic, Fares Fares, Madeleine Martin | Written by Maria Karlsson | Directed by Babak Najafi

Easy-Money-2

Let me start by saying “Nordic Noir” has a lot to answer for… Desperate to ride the popularity of Norwegian dramas such The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge, UK distributors are seemingly snatching up any and all crime dramas that emanate from the region; and obviously not all can be the next The Killing… Just look at Easy Money 2 (aka Snabba Cash II in it’s original Swedish).

Foregoing rich storytelling and an engrossing plot, director Babak Najafi instead ups the violence and action for this sequel to the 2010 original. Once again starring Joel Kinnaman (Robocop) and based upon the novels by Jens Lapidus, Easy Money 2 follows JW (Kinnaman), the promising business student who became an organized coke smuggler in Easy Money, is serving hard time in prison and struggling to get back on an honest path.

There are glimmers of hope in his life – some venture capitalists are interested in a new piece of trading software he’s developed, and while behind bars he’s made peace with an old enemy. This all proves to be an illusion. On leave from prison, and back in contact with his former gang, JW learns that once you’ve walked in the shoes of a criminal there just may be no going back… all the while caught in the middle of a war between Arab drug dealers and Serbian crime bosses.

You can’t dispute that director Babakna Jafi has an eye for the dramatic – his use of lighting and camera work combine to give Easy Money 2 a great visual look. It’s just a shame that stunning visuals are often wasted on mundane scenes of exposition.

And whilst I can get behind a film whose sole purpose is to thrill and excite with ridiculous action set-pieces – often sacrificing story to get them – what I can’t get behind is a film that SHOULD be solely about the action (and for the most part is), but then who throws in the aforementioned ridiculous and often clunky exposition in order to try and humanise its cast of stereotypical movie villains. Which in turn slows the film down to a snails pace, draining all the excitement out of what could have been a great revenge thriller.

If you liked the original film you may find something to enjoy in this sequel but otherwise Easy Money 2 is for hardcore “Nordic Noir” fans only. The film is out now on DVD from Icon Home Entertainment.

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