I.R.A.: King of Nothing (2006)

Not Rated   |    |  Action, Drama

I.R.A.: King of Nothing (2006) Poster

A disgruntled I.R.A. member (Chapa) becomes Ireland's biggest threat to the peace process.


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5 April 2017 | Theo Robertson
| Talk About Giving A Dog A Bad Name
Irish Republican Army ? That'll be the guerrilla army that fought for independence from British rule from 1919-21. I won't go as far as describing the IRA from that period as being "freedom fighters" but they did have a mandate. Every organisation calling itself "The IRA" from Eamon DeValera's anti-treaty IRA to the present IRA haven't had any mandate from anyone and most are nothing more than a small clique of fanatical bigots who have brought nothing except bloodshed and misery in their wake. Ireland's proud name is dragged through the gutter due to the murderous actions of a minuscule minority

There's very few impressive films featuring the Troubles as their backdrop . The recent thriller '71 is almost certainly the best film in its field even if it does win by default. What's the worst one ? I'd have no hesitation in saying THE DEVIL'S OWN but the Belfast Telegraph gave its best and worst list with '71 best and this unknown film IRA KING OF NOTHING being worst. After seeing it then it's also a contender for worst film full stop

It starts with a pitched gunbattle between the IRA and the Brits in Belfast 1970. Try and imagine the opening Stalingrad type battle of THE DEVILS OWN but even worse. The average British soldiers from this period were middle aged , overweight blokes dressed in a strange mixture of anachronistic military gear waving guns that were bought in the nearest toy shop. Not deterred by some militaristic salad dodgers the natives join throwing petrol bombs made out of plastic bottles while shouting "Away back tae England to serve yer Queen" with all the passion of someone reading out their grocery list

You get the impression that Irish history or military history aren't going to be this film's strongpoint so I looked up the production list on this site only to find director Damien Chapa and screenwriter Carlton Holder are both Americans. This says everything. It doesn't excuse anything , just explains everything. Even more tellingly Chapa casts himself as IRA badass Bobby O'Brien. It's very obvious Chapa is an American and his accent makes Brad Pitt in THE DEVILS OWN sound like Ian Paisley in comparison. Joe Estevez also makes an appearance as another IRA man and his accent is every bit as bad

I'm actually trying to work out what's worse , the bad acting from the Americans trying to sound Irish or the indigenous cast whose voices are so devoid of any inflexion they sound like they're voicing Daleks. Probably the worst performance is the hard nut with UDA connections in the Shankhill whose mannerisms and voice seems to imply he's playing a flamboyant gay-libbing homosexual. He makes Graham Norton look and sound like Mike Tyson in comparison

In relation to the other comments on this page I concur that this film can only be made as some sort of satire but then I've got to ask myself if IRA KING OF NOTHING contains enough sophistication to qualify as satire. It's bad such as scenes that look like they're trying to be a Jean Claude Van Demme movie , or scenes featuring graphic torture such as Bobby being in the Maze Prison getting sprayed in the face with a water-pistol , there's nothing here that can be taken seriously. In fact I'm sure Martin McGuiness saw this and died laughing , which isn't a fate I'd wish upon him to be honest

Critic Reviews


Release Date:

28 March 2006


English, Irish

Country of Origin

USA, Ireland

Filming Locations

Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland

Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)

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