July 05, 1982 12:00 PM

One looks in vain for a hero in this British film about the London underworld. There are only bad guys and worse guys. Director John Mackenzie’s grisly epic centers on a Mr. Big, played with ferocity by Bob Hoskins, the star of the BBC series Pennies From Heaven. A plump hood, he has lost control of his “corporation” and is trying to figure who is responsible for a rash of rub-outs on Good Friday. The plot, which eventually gets around to Irish terrorism, is convoluted. The dialogue, often poorly recorded and in baffling cockney, also causes confusion. Helen Mirren, though, is perfectly cast as Hoskins’ sensuous, shrewd lady. Mackenzie has created some memorably brutal images. And Hoskins’ portrayal won him a nomination for best actor in England’s equivalent of the Academy Awards. (R)

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