Hound review

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A film that’d make a great double bill with James Gunn’s Super, here’s our review of Hound.

Director: Simba Masaku
Lead cast: Jimm Stark, Simba Masaku, Rhiannon Barker
Release date: Out now
Reviewer: Dan Cooper

I’m fond of James Gunn’s Super, the 2010 low-budget superhero dissection that explored the darkly comic possibilities of an everyday joe donning a cowl to punch evil in its stupid face. With his reimagining of the Suicide Squad next for Gunn, I’m hopeful we’ll see glimpses of Super’s grim humour, although studio oversight will probably knock off the best of the rough edges. Not so with 2017’s Hound, a micro-budget superhero deconstruction from director Simba Masaku. This barmy feature length tale of a Hounslow alcoholic reimagining himself as a masked avenger is covered in rough edges, and boy are they fun.

Shot in a month on a tiny budget, the film pits the titular Hound against aspiring local crime boss Raj, with the streets of Hounslow at stake. Those rough edges? They’re great. The film swings wildly from fun fight sequences to Indian rude boy satire to po-faced, supercilious drama. It doesn’t always hang together perfectly, but it’s fun and pays tribute to every superhero genre beat it can, from pre-credit crime caper to the de rigueur flashy end-title sequence.

Hound feels, and I mean this as a compliment, like a film that’s snowballed from a pub conversation between die-hard fans of the genre. Whilst some plot lines lose resonance in a somewhat crowded narrative, there’s plenty to like, including some beautifully lit and fun fight scenes, not to mention some great stunts from Jimm Stark playing the tortured protagonist. Talia Dean’s Polly, the archetypal gangster’s moll suffering from an identity crisis, is a well played, fascinating character who felt ultimately underserved, but when there’s so much going on, it’s hard to fault the movie for bursting with ideas. Without doubt, though, the film’s chief asset is actor/director Simba Masaku’s comic turn as Raj, the swivel eyed, increasingly paranoid gangster who has probably watched Scarface a few too many times. He’s a wonderful character, combining humour, threat and pathos effectively to realise a worthy threat to the avenging Hound.

Whilst the film is available to rent on Amazon, I’d be hesitant to recommend it for its current, rather hefty price, but it’s worth sticking on the watchlist and waiting for a sizeable reduction. It’s a true micro-budget movie that would make a great double feature alongside Super and is a fun example of how passion and hard work can be a workable substitute for money.

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