Well, long running serials have been made on less. But this does, in addition to telling a faster than usual tale of industrial revenge, it grapples with the heavy philosophical dilemma of the privatization of security and the police. It finds that it's a mixed bag, especially when it comes to sharing the riches of innovation. Hard to believe, but apparently, even back in 1937, there were such issues to be dealt with. Here's the lowdown: this bigshot Steven Ranger, while he has a great name for a corporate bigshot, is kind of a tool, especially when it comes to dealing with his arch-nemesis on love's battlefield, David Mallory. Ranger's not just greedy, but harbors resentment because his true love fell for Mallory instead of him.
And so, despite all this ancient bitter history, Mallory approaches Ranger with a NEW security invention! It would later prove itself to be better for grocery store doors than for security, but never mind. The deal goes south for Mallory, and then and there in the Ranger building he SWEARS REVENGE. And so, Night Key is born, a crusader seeking justice for all those oppressed folks out there... especially Mallory. But Mallory / Night Key is not alone in this fight. Along for the ride is his daughter, damn near the only thing keeping him alive; and Petty Louie, a bit of an obnoxious two-timing rat, but lovable, and he does keep the plot moving along.
So what makes Mallory a hero? He's not breaking into these places to steal! He does it... because he CAN. And because he chooses to. He just can't stop bullets or fly like Neo. And he does it to... well, I don't want to spoil any surprises that might be left at this point.
The acting generally is pretty decent, but there's something about that 'The Kid', played by Alan Baxter. He's the crime-world equivalent of Ranger, and it's only fitting that Mallory work his way into his hands. His acting is interesting, to say the least. I couldn't quite tell if it was bad or not, but you can't turn your head away from it, that's for sure. I must seek out his other roles to see if he's always so weird!!
Oh, and finally, to tie it in to the Coen brothers, the Mallory hallway damn near looks like Tom Reagan's hallway in Miller's Crossing. Better put that on the to-do list.
If it were made today: Jeremy Irons in the Boris Karloff role. And if Soderbergh were handling the remake, he'd get the 'Yes I Am' guy to be Petty Louie.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan