Til Death Do Us Part (2023) Review
As Til Death Do Us Part opens The Best Man (Cam Gigandet, Black Warrant, Assimilate) sits in a pew working on his speech as upbeat music plays in the background. That’s followed by similar glimpses of other members of the wedding party prepping for the ceremony. A flashback to The Bride (Natalie Burn, Hard Night Falling, The Enforcer) and Groom (Ser’Darius Blain, Fortress, Fortress: Sniper’s Eye), nobody in this film has a name, on vacation serves to reinforce the happy image.
But Til Death Do Us Part isn’t a Hallmark Channel rom-com or Lifetime Channel thriller. Because when The Bride gets cold feet and bails on the wedding, we find out everyone involved in the ceremony is a highly skilled assassin. Now the stood-up Groom wants more than just his ring back, and their employer doesn’t take resignations well.
Before we get to that point though, director Timothy Woodward Jr. (The Call, The Final Wish) and writers Chad Law (Section 8, The Flood) and Shane Dax Taylor whose most recent film was another slice of matrimonial mayhem, The Best Man, throw us a couple of hints that all is not well.
We see The Bride looking wistfully at a mother and infant, knowing her career is not conducive to parenthood. And a conversation the couple has with a long married couple played by Jason Patric (In the Valley of Elah, Narc) and Nicole Arlyn (Wolf Mountain, Clay Pigeons) seems to plant seeds of doubt in her mind as to her fiance’s commitment to forever.
Unfortunately, the filmmakers seem very committed to forever because that’s how long it takes for Til Death Do Us Part to kick into gear. The film runs an hour and fifty-one minutes and fifteen to twenty minutes of that is disposable padding. And when I say padding I mean just that, there are three extended scenes of people dancing before we get to the first fight.
Even after The Groom dispatches The Best Man and Groomsmen One through Seven, the actors playing them include Orlando Jones (Enemies Closer, Drumline), Pancho Moler (Candy Corn, 3 From Hell) and D.Y. Sao (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Shadow Master), it takes until close to the forty-minute mark before Til Death Do Us Part delivers its first action scene.
The action scenes, once we get them are well staged as you would expect from a cast like this working with veteran stunt performer/coordinator Arnold Chon (Take the Night, Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone) and D.Y. Sao pulling double duty as fight coordinator. They’re also frequently inventive since they were supposed to be gathered for a wedding so none of them have the tools of their trade with them. This leads to plenty of hand to hand fighting as well as improvised weapons ranging from a pipe wrench and a shovel to the chainsaw we see on the poster.
Unfortunately, Til Death Do Us Part wastes too much time between these scenes. The flashback to their vacation unfolds over several segments, much of which are unneeded, as are many of the scenes of the groomsmen wandering around talking. Cinematographer Pablo Diez (The Outsider, Deitrick Haddon’s The Fallen) makes these scenes look great, but he can’t make them interesting. Worst of all though are the constant scenes of Gigandet dancing by himself to the 50s music that is constantly playing or reciting the speech he was to give at the wedding. They’re unbelievably dull and silly, and if you don’t like that kind of music it’ll get on your nerves quickly.
Jeffrey Reddick who serves as a producer, and whose involvement with the Final Destination franchise was a big part of the film’s publicity, should have demanded rewrites and some serious editing. Because at ninety minutes Til Death Do Us Part would have been an extremely solid action film and probably made a few lists at the end of the year. But for reasons unknown, a director and pair of writers who should have known better let the script bloat until it looked like Marlon Brando playing The Island of Dr. Moreau.
Perhaps surprisingly I’m still going to give Til Death Do Us part a conditional thumbs up. Once it lands on Digital or Streaming the action scenes are solid enough that it could be worth watching with some help from the fast-forward button. But there’s no reason to sit through the whole thing unless you really like 50s music.
Cineverse, formerly Cinedigm, will release Til Death Do Us Part to theatres on August 4th. You can check the film’s Facebook page for announcements of a home video release.