Review: First Round Down

A hockey star turned hitman returns to his hometown in First Round Down. Ten years ago, Tim Tucker (Dylan Bruce) helped lead the Hamilton Seahawks to Sterling Cup victory, even though a knee injury forced him to retire. Tim returns home after a decade away, working a menial job as a pizza delivery boy and taking care of his younger brother Matthew (Percy Hynes White). Tim hopes to rekindle his relationship with his ex girlfriend Kelly (Rachel Wilson), though she is now engaged to the preppy Winston (Kristian Bruun). In addition, it is revealed that Tim worked as a hitman over the previous decade and his old boss Sonny (John Kapelos) wants Tim to do one last job.
Directors Brett and Jason Butler follow up their 2013 dark comedy Mourning Has Broken with a film filled with crime, romance, and hockey. Tim Tucker is considered a hometown hockey hero in Hamilton, but he ended up running off to Montreal for a decade, where he found out he was pretty good at being a hitman. However, he decides that he wants to escape this life of crime and return home. However, crime boss Sonny tracks Tim down and asks for one more job, with the target being someone unexpected.

It was hard for me to watch First Round Down and not notice the similarities in the plot to the 1997 John Cusack-starring crime comedy Gross Pointe Blank, with both films involving a hitman coming home after a decade and trying to reunite with his ex-girlfriend around the time of a ten year reunion. In fact, probably the most major difference between the two films is that Tim Tucker is an ex-hockey player and that the reunion is for a championship win. Now, I should emphasize that my comparisons to Gross Pointe Blank are meant as a compliment, even if the similarities are little more than coincidence.

First Round Down is built around the charismatic lead performance by Dylan Bruce (Orphan Black), who portrays Tim Tucker as someone who’s cooler than cool, while also being somewhat of a loser. After returning home after a ten year absence, Tim is reunited with his best friend Bobby (Rob Ramsay) and tries to get back together this his ex-flame Kelly. However, this proves to be difficult, as he has passive aggressive encounters with Kelly’s new fiance Winston, played by fellow Orphan Black actor Kristian Bruun, and he receives relationship advice in the form of car metaphors from Kelly’s hockey coach father (Peter MacNeill).

Overall, I have to say that First Round Down is a fun mix of a crime comedy with hockey.

8 / 10 stars

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).