Iceman: Book One
Oct 8, 2023
Harold Jackson III
Harold Jackson III
Shaun Woodland, Michael J. Patterson, Gwendolyn Smith,
A modern noir that wears its influences on its sleeve, Iceman: Book One is a film that delivers all the drama, tension and swagger that are synonymous with the genre.
The eponymous Iceman (real name Bobby, played by a thoroughly impressive Shaun Woodland) is a man paid to gets things done. A hitman, an assassin, a gun for hire, you call, he gets the job done, no matter how messy. We meet Iceman as he is finally getting out of the game having completed that “one last job”. But his retirement is soon cut short when an old friend (an equally august Michael J. Patterson) very much in trouble comes begging for his help, and his life. Unable to turn a blind eye, he is dragged back into the seedy underworld he’s just managed to crawl out of, but now finds himself in way over his head as he navigates the dangers of mob bosses, unscrupulous business magnates and all other kinds of nefarious individuals in-between.
Writer/director Harold Jackson III and his team really deserve credit for their tremendous world-building efforts that manage to create a modern-noir achievement. Iceman: Book One persistently feels like a truly authentic, full world, complete with a wide range of distinctive and equally interesting characters, all of whom are then fully formed by a cast of brilliant actors that all deliver without fault, showing what can be achieved when everyone involved is at the top of their game.
Sure, some could be guilty of bordering on caricature in moments, but to be honest even then, never in any unenjoyable way and never for too long. It’s a commendable effort from all, but its Woodland’s carrying of the films wonderfully complex central character that stands head and shoulders above the rest, giving so much light and shadow to a role that could have easily been a cut-out stereotype, but in Woodland’s capable hands becomes so much more.
The film is light on its more action-packed set-pieces, and while there are more high-octane moments peppered throughout, Book One leans much more on its dramatic dialogue through character interactions from scene to scene, a large part of the film is made up of two-person conversations in rooms creating a story-telling pattern that does become noticeable and for some, might become tedious after a while, especially in those more exposition-heavy, plot-detailing scenes.
But as will probably be and should be the case for most, the extremely well-written and highly engaging story that Jackson III weaves throughout these scenes are rich and enticing enough to carry the film right through from beginning to end, the dialogue consistently strong and characters interesting enough throughout that these scenes still manage to keep us watching and guessing as all the delightful twists and turns take us through what is a well-executed and professional looking drama before leaving us wanting more.
ICEMAN: Book One is a very accomplished drama filled with plenty of enjoyable modern-noir trimmings, complete with a compelling and open-ended final act that makes any potential future instalments in the series feel very promising.