May I Kill U?
Blackly comic satire that lacks laughs, despite starring UK comedian Kevin Bishop
‘Assisted dying’ is the phrase used by disgruntled copper Baz (Kevin Bishop) to describe the brand of polite street-justice he invents in the aftermath of the London riots. Writer/director Stuart Urban’s black comedy revolves around the inverted moral code of a vigilante cop who styles himself as a mild-mannered judge, jury and executioner to the more recalcitrant elements of today’s society
The laughs, and there are few to be had, revolve around the decidedly British qualities of Baz’s quest; he cycles around London on a Smith and Wesson bike until he gets knocked from the saddle in a community centre car park. This bang on the head provokes Baz to seek bloody revenge against his attacker, cheerfully smashing his skull open with a stolen plasma television screen. Encouraged by a positive reaction on Twitter to his viciousness, Baz soon seeks out other miscreants for ‘processing’, while trying to resist the temptation to kill off his annoying, domineering mother Bernice (Frances Barber). After liberating a van of Russian woman from their traffickers, Baz invites the sultry Maya (Kasia Koleczek) to move in with him, sparking a domestic conflict that inevitably ends in a bloodbath.
Black comedy is a very hard genre to pull off, and Urban, who wrote several episodes of classic BBC drama Our Friends in the North, deserves credit for satirical intent. But despite the presence of TV comic Bishop, there’s little actual humour in May I Kill U?, just a grim view of police-work, deprivation, social media and modern life generally. While Urban’s film is proficiently written and presented, there’s little to engage with about Baz’s behavior; his episodic adventures might transgress moral codes, but they don’t have much entertainment value other than old-fashioned, Michael Winner-style shock tactics.