Star Rating:

Strength and Honour

Director: Mark Mahon

Actors: Pat Shortt, Michael Madsen

Release Date: Monday 30th November -0001

Genre(s): Drama

Running time: 104 minutes

Corkonian Mark Mahon's Strength And Honour is a major let-down and although he's not entirely at fault for the disappointment, the debutante's formulaic script didn't do the project any favours even before a scene was shot in anger. Palooka Sean Kelleher (Madsen) retires from the ring at the behest of his dying wife (Norma Sheahen), but is forced to take up bare-knuckle boxing when faced with a financial crisis and a bill for his son Michael's (Luke Whelton) up and coming operation. Standing in his way is six-time champion Smasher O' Driscoll (Jones) and an itinerant community none too happy with Sean's inclusion in an exclusively Traveller sport. The cliche-ridden script - you know how this film will end before the opening credits are finished - didn't help matters, but it's Madsen that's the biggest surprise. His by-the-numbers performance, coupled with his inconsistent Irish accent, don't help his director's plight and looks like he's there on a favour, while Whelton does his best Ricky Schroder impression. There are moments of genuine decency in the film, however. Jones is fun as the snarling Smasher, and the opening bout is stylishly shot but, unfortunately, is also a warning for what's to come: Madsen, who has just accidentally killed his brother-in-law in said bout, doesn't show the emotion needed to carry the scene and this continues for the rest of the film.