The Big Ugly is a frustrating affair. It has good actors (Vinnie Jones, Malcolm McDowell, and Ron Perlman) delivering good performances, but it is all undone by some incredibly inane directorial choices. I wholeheartedly blame director and writer Scott Wiper for ruining what could have been a great introspective revenge thriller.
A mobster from London, Harris (McDowell), and his loyal enforcer, Neelyn (Jones), come to the U.S. and invest with West Virginia oilman Preston (Perlman). After a celebratory night of drugs and alcohol, Neelyn stumbles awake and notices that his girlfriend Fiona (Lenora Crichlow) isn't in their hotel room. He soon discovers that she has been raped and murdered by Preston's psycho of a son, Junior (Brandon Sklenar in an effectively creepy performance).
So, The Big Ugly wants to be a philosophical revenge flick, but it's pretty dull and protracted. It's a cheapie action movie without action and loaded with annoying directorial flourishes. Wiper seems to insist on harsh backlighting in many scenes, obscuring the faces of the actors, thus making it difficult to see the reactions and expressions of the performers in those particular scenes. And the flashy editing just comes off as clumsy.
The choice of songs on the soundtrack is grossly inappropriate and even downright laughable for the scenes the tracks are placed in. Junior beats the tar out of Neelyn to the tune of "Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)" by The Hollies. What? Why? But the funniest musical interlude is Exile's "Kiss You All Over" accompanying a standoff between some mountain folks and Preston's henchmen.
This one is just a waste.
The Big Ugly is streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Google Play Movies & TV.
* ½ Stars (Out of Four)