Patrick Hughes has, to date, only made one feature film, but it's a hell of a film.
Red Hill is half western, half cop thriller, and a brilliant example of the revenge subgenre. Here's a trailer.
And here's a rather different one.
When I ran a story on Red Hill's poster back in 2010, the entire copy in my story was:
I love this film.
…but I did go into more detail at other times, saying:
Director Patrick Hughes is a really exciting talent, cinematically articulate and with a wonderful eye and great sense of story.
Shot in, shot out, Hughes has always found a great place for his camera… it isn't obvious, and it isn't flashy, but [Red Hill is] built to work and it really does.
Now, conversely, I was not a huge fan of the two Expendables films. They were too indifferently conceived and constructed to be elevated above VHS-grade hunk-o-beef nostalgia.
Having some action happening isn't all an action film needs – that action needs to be well conceived, well staged, well shot and well cut. So far, this series hasn't really come up to snuff on that front.
But I think it will now.
After his teasing comments of earlier today, Sylvester Stallone has all but named the director of The Expendables 3, and it's Red Hill's Patrick Hughes.
RentRED HILL.Great Movie!!500,000 budget 20 day shoot, Amazing – ROCKY was 850,000 and 25 days , Good OMEN!!!
— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) April 23, 2013
Since then, while still not coming out and being plain, Stallone has recommended people watch Hughes' short film Signs on YouTube. I can help you with that – it's embedded at the foot of this story.
It's not clear who will be writing the screenplay for The Expendables 3. Hughes wrote Red Hill as well as direct it, and I hope he at least has a hand in the new script.
And there we go. For the first time in a very long time I find myself genuinely thrilled by the prospect of a Sylvester Stallone movie. I might even consider popping First Blood into the Blu-ray player to celebrate… if I don't actually go for Red Hill instead. In fact, they really would make a great double bill.
If you never saw Red Hill, I really do recommend picking up the DVD or Blu-ray. It's honestly one of my favourite films in recent years. It's simple enough, and small, but it's brilliantly well executed.
And finally, here's Signs, as promised. Fans of John Kahr's Paperman might spot some similarities…