Ritchie Donovan (Stephen Dorff), a professional thief indebted to Russian mobster, Mr. Groyzni (Sean Pertwee]) is sent to Russia to steal a priceless antique cross locked in a safe on the penthouse floor of a Moscow skyscraper. The heist goes awry after Ritchie’s idiotic accomplices, Peter (Jamie Foreman) and Yuri (Russell Smith), kill a woman and the thieves are forced to take hostages when trapped by police on the unused 13th floor. Their captives include: ice-cool career woman Anna (Jaime Murray), jittery journalist Dmitry (Hugh O’Conor), blundering ex-army commando Boris (Geoff Bell), and a trio of religious crackpots led by the zealous Sonya (Bronagh Gallagher). Things get seriously weird when one hostage is gorily dispatched, and Ritchie realises they are all being stalked by a psychotic killer (Edward Baker Duly). Worse still, Sonya grabs a gun and starts pursuing her own agenda. Which somehow leads to an obsession with a Russian tyrant, disco dancing murders, an enraged Dmitry transforming into Keanu Reeves, Ritchie and Anna sharing a kiss beneath a pile of dead bodies, and a rat being used as a makeshift bomb. But you saw all that coming, didn’t you?
Debuting director Kit Ryan indulges some sinewy tracking shots throughout a mildly intriguing set-up, which depicts Ritchie’s earlier, diamond heist coming to a sorry end. The guy clearly can’t catch a break. Thereafter, Botched lurches from the darkly amusing to calamitously awful before it belly-flops squarely into the bucket marked: “avoid at all costs”. Obviously conceived as a gory lark, this would-be horror comedy is too silly to scare and way too leaden to tickle the funny bone. Like a particularly inane episode of Scooby-Doo, by way of Troma, the film includes speeded up comedy chases, a shoddy rat puppet and gory sight gags that lack the wit of early Sam Raimi or Peter Jackson. Poor Stephen Dorff struggles gamely like a drowning man and the film grievously wastes talented Hustle star, Jaime Murray. Amidst the dross a single scene where Anna, her ear impaled against a wall, painfully struggles to free herself, shows what Murray is capable of.
Aside from Dorff, the whole cast adopt cod Russian accents. Jamie Foreman, who has a legacy of cartoonish performances behind him, sounds even worse when yelping: “Vot are you takkin aboot?” His oft-repeated line: “Dis is not Christmas, I am not Santa Claus”, is stupefying in its inanity. Botched offers a mild parody of macho pomposity with an amusing three-way between bonkers Boris (“The Russian army isn’t all about cannibalism and homosexual rape!”), Foreman’s gurning gangster, and Edward Baker Duly’s Lord of the Rings costumed, warrior obsessive.
Ryan’s intent to throw a few curveballs and subvert genre clichés is admirable, but he winds up upholding them. Timid Dmitry loses his rag and gets all heroic to no avail. Bronagh Gallagher’s religious zealot is supposedly the wild card, but seriously - when did you last see a movie where a religious character didn’t turn out to be nuts? So are there no positives? Well, Botched does offer the once in a lifetime sight of an armour-clad, Ivan the Terrible obsessed, serial killer disco dancing to Shalimar. That’s got to count for something.