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DVD Review: Chicago Overcoat

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Chicago Overcoat is the tale of an aging hit-man fighting to prove his worth as a killer again, so that he can go into retirement a happy and well-paid man. Opposing him are a detective and his younger partner, who run into trouble along the way. All fairly standard stuff, I’m sure you will agree.

It’s hard to tell who you’re supposed to be rooting for, as you don’t even encounter the detective (who constantly looks like he’s wearing a disguise) and his partner until 30 minutes into the film or thereabouts. The main character is treated as neither good nor bad for what he does. It’s just what he does. He has a family and he’s killing people to support them. You must decide for yourself what you think of him because I couldn’t make my mind up, and normally I am dead set against the idea of a villain protagonist. The film ends in a way that I didn’t expect, and in fact led me to question the competence of some of the characters.

The film has a few recognizable faces, such as the main character (Frank Vincent, whom I know from Grand Theft Auto III); Armand Assante, from the rather terrible Judge Dredd movie; and Mike Starr, an actor with a few bit parts under his belt (Frasier, Scrubs. and Dumb And Dumber).

Much of this stuff are staples of gangster or film noir movies. There’s a brief scene in a strip club, a back alley assassination and a tommy gun involved in a shootout (which I didn’t expect to happen the way it did). You get the talk of respect and scenes of the gangster looking out for his family. And finally, there is also voice-over narration. As I say, this is all fairly normal fare, but it’s still enjoyable to watch.

The DVD contains two behind the scenes featurettes, “What Is A Chicago Overcoat” (according to Urban Dictionary, there are two definitions, and the one that sounds appropriate is “a coffin [or] a casket”) and “The Tommy Gun Shootout”. It also features trailers (always pointless, as you’ve got the film with you) and some deleted scenes.

The film is not what I would normally watch, but it ended up being pretty engaging, despite my not expecting much from it. I would recommend checking this one out. If you are a fan of gangster films, not much of this will be new ground to you. However, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. There’s dames, moolah, and gratuitous Italian. What more could you ask for?

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About Scott Varnham