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‘…unfortunately the cultural commentary that should be the text is made sub-text to some lame 90’s era gangster comedy…’

Not the Michael Jackson musical fantasia from 1988, but a wild and silly fiction about the faking of the 1969 moon landings, Antoine Bardou-Jacquet’s comedy drops on Prime in the UK with the grating sound of a barrel being scraped one last time. While the concept and the cast are good enough for sure, Moonwalkers is the kind of film that frustrates due to its inability to realise a fairly simple idea. A now-it-can-be-told story of wide-boys, gangsters and feckless film-makers should be a lot of laughs, but there’s a few reasons why this film is as obscure and buried as…Stanley Kubrick’s secret film about the 1969 moon landings?

Rupert Grint takes centre stage here as Jonny Thorpe, a Robin Askwith type of low-life hustler, unsuccessfully managing awful bands and snorting huge amounts of cocaine that he can’t afford, leaving him prey to violent drug-dealers. By chance, Thorpe happens to be in the office of Derek Kaye (Stephen Campbell Moore) an equally drug-addled agent who, while dealing with a nose-bleed caused by his own excessive drug use, misses a meeting with CIA operative Tom Kidman (Ron Perlman) that Thorpe takes. Thorpe gets one of his pals to dress up as Stanley Kubrick, a deception that Kidman somehow doesn’t recognise as being fake, and the duo seal the deal to fake the moon landings. Thorpe and his gang use the money for partying, then find out that they’re in hock to the CIA, local gangsters and pretty much everyone in Swinging London. And given the CIA’s willingness to ‘bury the architects’ behind their illicit schemes, Jonny Thorpe and co may have a limited time to enjoy snorting their winnings…

Moonwalkers looks lively from the get-go, but after about twenty minutes, it becomes obvious that Dean Craig’s script isn’t really going to be about Kubrick or faking the moon landings, but just another sub Guy Ritchie geezer comedy, with lashings of bloody comic violence and not much else. Perlman is admirably straight-faced as the improbably named Kidman, but not much else works here; there’s tonnes of almost- in-jokes (like calling a character Tom Kidman) but unfortunately the cultural commentary that should be the text is made sub-text to some lame 90’s era gangster comedy. It also makes zero sense that the moon-landing film has to be given a stressful beam-back broadcast ‘as live’ some weeks before the actual landing; there’s fiction, and then there’s just not making any sense at all.

Both NASA and Stanley Kubrick’s fabled careers have drawn huge interest from conspiracy theorists over the years, and it was probably inevitable that the intersection between the two would draw some speculative attention. But Moonwalkers is a hard film to recommend largely due to its treatment of drugs as a hilarious lads joke, non-existent female characters to balance up the dated Loaded-magazine humour, and a general sense that the film-makers have missed every possible trick here. Capricorn One did it all far better, and with a lot less free advertising for cocaine…


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  1. Nope. What is Perlman doing, he’s in a fair amount of dodgy movies, watched Monster Hunt last night and there he was all longhaired and silly looking. At least he looks better in this one.

    • He’s actually the saving grace here, really good actor, poorly served here…caramelised onions?

  2. Man, what is with the Harry Potter stars taking on some really crap projects? I bet Grint doesn’t have to work a day if he would live a modest lifestyle and he could spend his days reading or painting or sculpting or something leisurely. Instead, he does this.

    too bad a bear doesn’t just come and eat them all. That would be a great prequel for Cocaine Bear.

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