Directed by David Caesar, starring Bryan Brown, Toni Collette, John Goodman, Sam Neill, Sam Worthington, Kestie Morassi and Felix Williamson.

If you enjoyed the high-octane smash and grab of Guy Ritchie's 'Snatch' and 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels', then 'Dirty Deeds' could be right up your street, mate.

A jokey retro caper named after an AC/DC song, 'Dirty Deeds' takes you into the seedy underworld of 1960's Sydney, where Barry Ryan (Brown) makes a handsome living as the crime boss in charge of the Australian city's shady gaming dens.

The world unfolds before us through the eyes of Barry's nephew, Darcy (Worthington) who is taken under his uncle's wing on his return from the battlefields of Vietnam. Before long he is mixed up in the dark side of the business, and gets entangled with his uncle's girlfriend (Morassi) to boot.

John Goodman turns in a typically excellent performance as Tony, an American hood who is having second thoughts about his choice of career. In fact, his quality as an actor almost unbalances the movie, a problem not helped by the fact that he also plays the script's most sympathetic character.

Toni Collette might not reach the heights of her stunning cameo in 'The Hours', but her spirited portrayal of an ageing gangster's moll and Sam Neill's quietly malevolent bent copper are the other high spots of a generally weak cast. Worthington and Morassi are particularly bland and uninspired in the important roles of the young hero and his love interest.

A flurry of fast edits, period stylings and use of stock footage attempt to give 'Dirty Deeds' an energy and nostalgic quality. Instead, they simply seem like a way of hiding the film's numerous shortcomings, though a shot of the construction of Sydney Opera House was distractingly impressive.

Overall, 'Dirty Deeds' is cheap and nasty, as personified by its lead actor and producer, Bryan Brown, a man who has built a career as a second-rate Michael Caine. Compared to another relatively recent Aussie crime flick, the powerful and hilarious 'Chopper', Dirty Deeds looks weak and derivative.

When Goodman finds himself face down in a pile of crap towards the film's close, it is tempting to draw a handy analogy. This is a dirty job, and I don't recommend you do it.

Luke McManus