There's no nicer way to say it: Berlin Job, or St. George's Day in the UK, is a dreadfully boring movie. Much like the American inspirational sports movie, the British gangster picture has been so thoroughly and completely run into the ground. Harper, not just the star but also the director and co-writer, has tried his best to cast the film with reliable British talent, shoot in locations that offer a little bit of scope, and create the kind of twisty plotline that these sorts of thrillers are required by law to include. It's not his fault that all of these double-crosses and the double-crosses that cross those double-crosses have all been done three times over, and are completely devoid of further interest.
For instance, just think of the mole inside Micky's crew. Could there possibly be a less interesting plot point for a gangster film to explore at this point? Is there any type of foreshadowing or suggestion that won't stand out to the audience like a neon sign, pointing directly at the culprit, even as the script tries desperately to draw attention elsewhere? The same goes for the guy trying to get out, whose one chance at freedom's going down the tubes, the rogues' gallery of friends and foes Harper lays out by name in his opening narration, the ingrained sexism of the genre, and on and on. There's no invention here, simply the same old standbys, reheated for another dish.
Worse, Harper doesn't seem to have much interest in making this kind of film in the first place, pushing faster pacing, action sequences, and witty dialogue to the side in favor of gangster politics. Over two-thirds of the film is spent watching the characters size up the chess board, considering how their next move will play out, all while Harper narrates in voice-over. Adding insult to injury, the character of Micky is also extremely unlikable, often taking matters into his own hands in exactly the kind of ugly, macho way one expects from the supporting character that's going to screw it all up. Slogging through an uninspired movie is hard enough, but an uninspired and aggressively boring movie with an awful protagonist is even tougher.
In the home stretch, Harper finally picks up the pace and digs into some more exciting material, but even his livelier elements are tired. One of Harper's big flourishes involves cross-cutting two scenes and trying to get the audience to think two sets of characters are in opposite locations. When your fancy send-off is one of the oldest tricks in the book, it's time to go back to the drawing board.
The Video and Audio
An English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is fairly decent, but again, as this is not really the action movie the artwork suggests, there's not much opportunity for the film to show this off. Crowded parties and the occasional club scene offer a little directionality and ambience, and music fills out the surround channels a little, but for the most part this is thickly-accented dialogue, rendered with unremarkable clarity. The disc actually loses a few points for the captions and subtitles, which not only get at least a few sentences wrong (a reference to The Long Good Friday is rendered totally nonsensical), but even flat-out includes a few passages where the captions simply say "[inaudible]", which is pretty ridiculous.