Two pathetic ‘white-van-men’ argue about who might be the ‘hardest’, resulting in an epic battle that will decide a victor once and for all.
Writer/directors Sam Dawe and Paul Holbrook have a great back catalogue of comedy shorts having established Shunk Films and produced the comedy anthology ‘The Wrinklefest Files’. As a result they have their chemistry down pat for this everyman scenario taken to the Nth degree as Dawe and Holbrook take on the roles of two workmates engaged in a verbal peeing contest. The great move here is starting with a conversation that we have all heard before, the bravado of a guy who needs to be seen as an alpha male, whose claims descend into obvious pure fiction.
Dawe and Holbrook work fantastically as a comic duo, with Holbrook channeling self-assured abrasiveness and Dawe mastering unimpressed dry sarcasm. Their differing styles compliment each other in such a way that the potentially childish exchange manages to deliver entertainment on a level transcendent of the “two guys talking in one location” scenario.
The dialogue is reflective of just how much they love martial arts/action movies and their brilliant verbal trade offs escalate so hilariously that they more than earn the indulgence in the genre that bookends the film. Special credit has to be given to fight choreographer Joe Hallett for crafting a final confrontation that shows technical skill, while still keeping tongues firmly planted in cheeks.
There is a lot of fun to be had here and while the film’s scenario is very straightforward, it is the dialogue skills of Sam Dawe and Paul Holbrook (in both conceiving as writers and delivering as co-directors and stars of the film) that make this short such a delight to watch.
While it verges on crossing the line into being somewhat silly in some places, overall ‘Lie Hard’ is a great homage to the action stars of the 80s and a love letter to classic martial arts movies, all wrapped up in a well-executed comedy scenario. Definitely a great way to spend 9 minutes.
Studio: Shunk Films
Duration: 9 mins
Producer: Paul Holbrook