“Robbery, Assault & Battery” - Phil Collins’ film Buster reviewed by Ted Sayers.

Buster is NOT Phil’s acting debut as all Genesis fans know. He has played many a criminal in his acting “career” and that is just the point. With the exception of his part in Calamity The Cow, Phil’s acting career has been confined to the criminal/confidence trickster type. He played the Artful Dodger in the original West End cast version of Oliver! In his pre-Flaming Youth days. He played the wise-cracking “Phil The Shill” in Miami Vice and now he has one of the major crimes of the century as part of the plot of his first real film.

But the main point of these rantings is that Phil has been playing this sort of character for years with Genesis. Witness his intros to Robbery, Assault & Battery to name but one example. The main question that is raised by Buster is: is Phil capable of any other type of role? I will reserve judgement until he does Hamlet or something suitably arty.

Having said that, Phil’s Buster Edwards is an assuredly competent performance. As Edwards, Phil sings in the film and you really wonder how he has made a living as a singer, it really is abysmal when he chants “we are the champions” after England’s 1966 World Cup win.

The film is a reasonable attempt at entertainment but it works best as a comedy, but sadly even there it is no match for this year’s COMEDY: Good Morning, Vietnam. Try another role Phil and let’s see if you can act. We know you have perfected the likes of the Buster part.

While on the subject of Genesis’ contribution to the cinema, Peter recently wrote and performed the soundtrack for the OTHER controversial film of the year: The Last Temptation Of Christ. The album may not be getting a UK release so look out for imports as the music is very effective giving the film a far more Islamic/Middle Eastern feel rather than a Christian atmosphere. Shankar’s contribution is nothing short of brilliant.

The film itself raises interesting points but is rather heavy going if you are not too keen on this sort of thing, and the music adds immensely to it. Great stuff from Peter again - even better than his Birdy soundtrack.

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