John Landis used to be hot shit. Remember that? "American Werewolf in London?" "The Blues Brothers?" So what happened? Well, sometimes talent just burns out. By the time of "Beverly Hills Cop 3" it was apparent that whatever genius juice John had was gone or gone rancid.
Well he's back, so the question is obviously is he back on form. Honestly, no. But the film "Burke and Hare," isn't bad we just aren't talking four stars here. This film feels more like a lifetime network film, or a BBC film done with a left over budget.
The story is interesting enough and based on real life. Simon Pegg is Burke and Andy "Hi I'm Gollum" Serkis is Hare and they are two Neer'do'wells who are hanging around looking for a scam for some easy money. Luckily, the law has suddenly made it difficult for doctors to get bodies that they need to dissect so they at least know what not to cut in their living patients. This creates a demand and an instant black market. A black market that isn't asking too many questions of where all these fresh bodies are coming from. Of course such an economic paradise can't last long as soon as the law comes sniffing along. Can our heroes (???) keep their necks out of the noose? The answer might actually surprise even my ever watchful readers.
Pegg and Serkis do most of the work of this movie. They keep two sociopaths if not exactly loveable at least empathetic. Serkis is the more slimey of the two always pushing Burke into deeper and deeper decadence. The movie tries to make a point that it is economics that drove these two to crime, but if true it was only a drive around the block. In the end, money or not, it was an evil act to kill. The hangman agrees with me as he collects his fee for his services.