Till Death Do Us Part


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Till Death Do Us Part
"It would have been nice to see a little bit more care taken with the premise, but of course, that’s not really the point. This is a film about fighting, and where that’s concerned, it acquits itself much better."

Marriage means different things to different people, but however one looks at it, it’s a major commitment. It’s not surprising that, as the big day approaches, some people get nervous. In this case the bride (Natalie Burn) is visibly unsettled by the sight of a mother with a small child – but it’s not that she’s daunted by the prospect of parenthood. On the contrary, this is the life she wants - and so she acknowledges, finally, that no matter how much she loves the groom (Ser’Darius Blain), she just can’t bring herself to commit to remaining a professional assassin.

Even after being jilted at the altar, the groom hopes that they can work things out. He asks his best man (Cam Gigandet) and seven groomsmen to detain her at the house she has bolted to until he can get there. It ought to be a simple operation. All they need to do is surround the place, watch the doors, maybe disable her car or block the road. Without knowing they’re there, she’ll probably just go to sleep. But no. Instead, they announce themselves, break into the house, and proceed to split up, Scooby Doo-style. They seem to believe that they can easily defeat her because she’s just a woman. A trained assassin woman. Hilariously, they call the organisation they work for ‘the University’.

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It would have been nice to see a little bit more care taken with this premise, but of course, that’s not really the point. This is a film about fighting, and where that’s concerned, it acquits itself much better. Whilst Burn doesn’t really get much chance to show us what she can do as an actor (although it’s not that hard to look good by comparison here), she has the force of personality necessary to keep viewers on side, and she has the moves. A wedding gown cut to show off long legs nicely frames them as they throttle an enemy or kick another in the face. She delivers some flips and rolls which are positively balletic and which keep us guessing as to the outcome of even the most perilous-looking situations. Not all her opponents are good enough to give her a run for her money, but her fight with DY Sao is a thing of beauty.

Interwoven with this story is a prequel of sorts, though it sees the bride and groom posing as newlyweds, perhaps prompted to imagine how the real thing might make them feel. Their initial interaction with another couple (Jason Patric and Nicole Arlyn) at a bar might easily have turned into a fight in slightly different circumstances, which is the first hint that it is recognised by all those involved as something other than what it appears to be. The serenity of these scenes balances the violence elsewhere whilst providing just enough intrigue to keep viewers from getting frustrated, even if, in the end, it doesn’t lead anywhere particularly interesting.

Director Timothy Woodward Jr (the man behind 2020’s The Call) is big on action set pieces, delivering a final dance sequence which packs in a good deal of character work, but a bit more effort in fleshing out the backstory would really have paid dividends here. Likewise, the behaviour of the various assassins might have been more carefully thought out – they eat and drink in a careless manner which suggests that they believe only obvious weapons can kill them. These aspects of the film feel perfunctory, given the bare minimum of attention necessary to expedite the fights, as a result of which we don’t have the emotional investment in the fights that we should. There’s enough here to entertain, but this marriage of marital and martial arts still feels like a bit of a missed opportunity.

Reviewed on: 08 May 2023
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After bailing on her wedding, a former bride-to-be must fight off her ex-groom and seven angry killer groomsmen in order to survive the night.

Director: Timothy Woodward Jr

Writer: Chad Law, Shane Dax Taylor

Starring: Natalie Burn, Cam Gigandet, Jason Patric, Orlando Jones, Ser'Darius Blain, Pancho Moler, Neb Chupin, DY Sao

Year: 2023

Country: US


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