A couple of years back, Gerard Butler starred in an absolute stinker of a revenge thriller called Law-Abiding Citizen, a movie so ridiculous that some still haven't forgiven themselves for not standing up hands-on-hips in the cinema and shouting "Is this actually happening?!" to their fellow sufferers in the dark.

Well, there's the chance to right that wrong with Dead Man Down, an equally whiffy slice of get-even gung-ho, although you may get even more satisfaction by just saving your money.

Set in the razor-less world of New York gangsters, Farrell plays Victor, a Hungarian (alarm bell one – it doesn't sound alone) enforcer who works for Alphonse Hoyt (Howard). Hoyt is on the receiving end of anonymous threats and photo jigsaws and is saying everything to his cronies at five miles an hour through gritted teeth.

The gang tries to find out who's keeping the city's courier sector in business, but Victor is also preoccupied with Beatrice (Rapace), his neighbour from across the hall. Like Victor, Beatrice is one of life's lost souls with more baggage than the suitcase shop on O'Connell Street and - to borrow a line from an ancient sage who knew a thing or two about body counts - when they met it was moider.

Dead Man Down is co-produced by WWE Films, the movie arm of the wrestling empire, and you'd get a more convincing story on an episode of Saturday shape-throwing, and feel better about yourself for watching. What's so bizarre is that the talent assembled would suggest a fine thriller: director Oplev was the man behind the lens for the original, Rapace-starring Swedish adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Their reunion here, however, sees them and the rest of a heavyweight cast losing their way - it's just a mercy that no-one did themselves a bad injury falling into the plot crater at the centre of the film.

While Farrell and Rapace have real chemistry in the quieter scenes, watching one of our own waste his talent on the rest of this nonsense is the cinematic emotional equivalent of Ireland conceding a goal in the 90th minute, with the ending here even more ridiculous than anything you've ever seen in our six-yard box.

The great rule of thumb is the more posters you see the bigger, or worse, the movie. There's been a lot of advertising for Dead Man Down.

Harry Guerin