Fatal Deviation

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Fatal Deviation
Fatal deviation.jpg
VHS cover
Directed byShay Casserley & Simon Linscheid
Produced byJames Bennett
Justin Harmon
Written bySimon Linscheid
StarringJames Bennett
Mikey Graham
Colin Hamilton
Justin Harmon
Michael Regan
CinematographyShay Casserley
Edited bySimon Linscheid
Distributed byRising Sun Productions
Release date
1998 (1998)
Running time
76 minutes

Fatal Deviation is a low-budget cult film produced and set in Trim, County Meath, Ireland. Produced in 1998, it enjoys the distinction of being Ireland's first full-length martial arts film. The film stars real-life martial arts enthusiast James Bennett. The film was conceived by James Bennett. Many have considered this film to be one of the worst films ever made. The movie went straight to video without a theatrical release.


Fatal Deviation tells the story of Jimmy Bennett, a disenfranchised young man trying to rebuild his life. On returning home after a ten year stay in St. Claude's Reform School, he aims to discover who he is, what it is he should do and what happened to his father.

Upon arriving back at his home in Trim, Jimmy finds his home in a state of disrepair. He uses a rock to break open his front door and finds his front room a mess, furniture and clutter strewn along the floor. Jimmy begins to tidy up his home, picking furniture up and replacing paintings on walls. During his tidying, he finds his father's old statue of Buddha. The statue prompts Jimmy to remember a childhood memory where his father is performing a form of kung-fu based meditation.

Jimmy soon heads to his local Londis store to do some shopping after tidying his home, unfortunately, his grocery shop is rudely interrupted when he comes across two hooligans running amok in the store by stealing, throwing things around, and harassing local shop worker Nicola. One of the hooligans threatens Nicola's newly built toilet paper tower, Jimmy however will not stand for this and kicks the hooligan into the tower, subsequently destroying it, and leaving the hooligan incapacitated. He throws another kick towards the other hooligan but stops just short of his face as a warning, causing the hooligan to flee.

Jimmy returns to his home and begins to perform some maintenance on his home, removing the metal sheets from his windows, and clearing some clutter. During his maintenance he finds an old martial arts outfit belonging to his father. Jimmy recalls how his father began to train him in martial arts. One day while he was in school, he was pushed over by a bully, Jimmy ran home to his father who began to show him how to defend himself in future.

Nicola is walking home from the town when she is approached by two men, members of the local gang. One of the gang members tries to give her flowers as a present from a local gang member - Mikey (played by Mikey Graham of Boyzone fame). She turns the flowers down and rejects Mikey's request for a date. The gang members do not take kindly to this and get aggressive towards her. Jimmy happens upon this encounter and fights to defend Nicola once more. He easily dispatches the two thugs while a mysterious monk watches from the distance.

The two gang members return to the gangs headquarters, and recount their fight with Jimmy to their leader. The gang leader, known only as Loughlan, who happens to be the father of the aforementioned Mikey, decides they should add Jimmy to their group ("Why not? Wouldn't it be ironic to have the son of the man I killed working for us?").

Jimmy begins to workout at home, shortly after, Nicola arrives to present Jimmy with a pie as a thank you for defending her earlier in the day. Nicola quickly turns to leave after giving Jimmy the pie. Jimmy asks can he see her again to which she coyly responds and then dramatically leaves.

Jimmy chases after Nicola but is unable to catch her as she is on a bike. Jimmy gives up and goes back inside his home, however, he finds that two members of the local gang have broken in and hold him at gunpoint and tell him that Loughlan would like to speak with him.

Loughlan offers Jimmy a job doing "manual labour". Jimmy tells Loughlan that he isn't sure if he wants the job and leaves. While Jimmy is on his way out, he is warned by Mikey to stay away from Nicola. Mikey returns to his father and expresses that he doesn't want Jimmy to work for the gang. Loughlan responds to this by saying that "it's a dangerous job and accidents happen all the time" to which Mikey calls him a "crafty old bastard".

Jimmy and Nicola go on a date to the local amusements. Jimmy and Nicola decide to go on the bumper cars. Jimmy has a flashback to the previously described memory of his father meditating. However this time, Jimmy remembers seeing a mysterious person enter with a sword. The mysterious person unsheathes their sword and raises it above their head, and then strikes Jimmy's father with a killing slash. Jimmy jolts awake, discovering it was just a nightmare.

The next day, one of the mysterious monks posts a sign for the Bealtaine tournament - a mysterious, 'no-rules' fighting tournament. Loughlan and his gang are seen plotting. Loughlan tells his gang members to ensure that Seagull - a member of the gang on a mission in Hong Kong - wins the tournament, as the tournament is very important, as, according to Mikey, if they win it, they take control of the town.

Jimmy and Nicola go on another date, this time they wander through the forest and stumble upon a monastery, they approach it and a monk sneaks up behind them and cryptically says to Jimmy "I know my past, do you know yours?".

Jimmy tries to go to the local pub but is stopped by two bouncers, they refuse him entry and Jimmy begins to walk away, but Jimmy remembers that one of the bouncers was one of the gang members who he fought the day he was defending Nicola.

Jimmy beats the bouncers up and enters the bar. He sits at the bar and orders a drink. A barman accidentally spills a drink on one of Loughlan's gang members, the gang member begins to assault the barman, but Jimmy rushes to his aid. Jimmy is then attacked by several of the pubs patrons, and a bar man who threatens him with a gun. Jimmy fights them all off and on his way out, Jimmy declines Loughlan's previous job offer by telling one of Loughlan's gang members to tell Loughlan "I think he has enough people, I'd only be stepping on other people's toes." The gang member returns to Loughlan and informs him of this.

Nicola is tending to the wound's Jimmy sustained at the bar when Jimmy hears a knock at the door. He opens it and one of the monks is there. The monk presents him with an invitation to the tournament. Nicola encourages him to fight in the tournament and Jimmy begins to train again.

One of the monks from the monastery tells Jimmy to meet him tomorrow and alludes to the fact that he previously knew Jimmy's father. Jimmy is intrigued and attends the meeting, where the monk tells him they will begin training tomorrow. Jimmy dreams about the training he underwent with his father, where his father told him he would make him a black belt.

The next day, the monk wakes Jimmy up and they begin his training. Jimmy and Nicola also go on multiple dates during his breaks in training. Jimmy demands that the monk tells him about how the monk knows his father, to which the monk replies that he will, after his training is complete. The two hooligans spot Jimmy practicing for the tournament with the monk and go to Mikey to inform him of this. Mikey doesn't want Jimmy involved in the tournament so he arranges for Nicola to be kidnapped and for the monk to be killed.

Jimmy and Nicola are on a date in the woods and Jimmy asks about Nicola's relationship with Mikey, she says that she used to be interested in him. Jimmy goes to kiss Nicola but is interrupted when a trio of Loughlan's men arrives on scramblers. Jimmy runs into the woods and hijacks one of the motorbikes. He then returns to pick up Nicola and the two are chased by an onslaught of Loughlan's men. Jimmy kills some of them and lets Nicola off the bike for her safety. Jimmy returns to the fray and kills more of Loughlan's men, however, Nicola is eventually kidnapped.

Loughlan's men bring Nicola to a caravan where Mikey is waiting for her. Mikey is angry that Nicola was seeing Jimmy and assaults her, she tells him that Jimmy will come and get her, to which Mikey replies "I hope he does". Mikey then storms out of the caravan in a rage, leaving Nicola under the watch of his henchmen.

Jimmy returns home after his battle to find a note on his coffee table. Jimmy grabs the note and runs towards the monastery. He arrives just in time to protect the monk from Loughlan's men. Once they have fought off the attackers, the pair rest up by a campfire. Jimmy shows the monk the note that was left on his coffee table, which tells Jimmy to "loose or else". Jimmy asks the monk what he is supposed to do, the monk tells him to win the tournament, however, Jimmy is concerned for Nicola's safety. The monk tells Jimmy that winning the tournament will break Loughlan's gangs power and allow them to get Nicola back safely.

Jimmy begins to reflect on the experiences him and Nicola shared together such as when they were chased on a motorbike by Loughlan's men, when they rested in a field after riding horses together, or when they made love to each other for the first time. These reflections provide Jimmy with a newfound motivation to rescue the love of his life.Jimmy undertakes his final training with the monk, where the monk waves flaming sticks at Jimmy.

Loughlan's henchman, Seagull, returns from his successful mission in Hong Kong. Loughlan tells him that he has a new job for him - to defeat Jimmy at the tournament.

The tournament commences and the fights begin. In between one of the matches Jimmy has a conversation with the monk where the monk reveals that Jimmy's father was a monk for a while. Jimmy goes on to reach the final, where he faces Seagull.

Seagull appears to have the upperhand for a while. Jimmy receives several hard blows to the head, triggering another flashback. In this flashback, he finally remembers the identity of his father's killer - it was Loughlan. Motivated by his newfound rage towards Loughlan, he defeats Seagull with a well-timed use of the mysterious "Fatal Deviation" move as taught to him by the head monk.

Having triumphed over Seagull, Jimmy then takes on the gang and rescues his girlfriend. In doing so, he kills all of Loughlan's men, and Loughlan's son Mikey. To celebrate Jimmy's victory in the tournament, and in taking on an entire gang, Jimmy and Nicola have a picnic on the side of a road. Jimmy tells Nicola to close her eyes and goes to kiss her once more, however, Nicola opens her eyes and sees Loughlan pointing a gun at Jimmy. Loughlan is here to seek bloody vengeance for his son ("You killed my son, now I'm going to kill you, just as I killed your father"), but Jimmy ultimately dispatches him too ("You killed my father, now I'm going to kill you, just like I killed your son.") The film ends with Jimmy and Nicola hugging on the side of the road looking confidently forward to a happy and peaceful future in Trim.


  • Jimmy Bennett as Jimmy Bennett
  • Mikey Graham as Mikey
  • Michael Regan as Loughlan
  • Nicola O'Sullivan as Nicola
  • Dave Foley as Pig
  • Colin Hamilton as Seagull
  • Justin Harmon as Man in Bath
  • Conor Lamude as Man in Shower
  • Alex Stancevic as Serbian Henchman
  • Barry Smith as Henchman #1
  • Peter Crinion as Henchman #2
  • Paudie Greene as Henchman #3
  • Johnny Murray as Main Monk
  • Mattie Finnigan as Tournament Monk
  • John Kiely as Barman
  • Justin Hatton as Biker Gang member


James Bennett had been tipped off that Hong Kong film producers were interested in working with him, but wanted to see some of his work before offering him a project. Fatal Deviation was essentially his audition tape.[1] Filming began in September 1997 with no budget in place and Bennett simply asked his friends to become involved with making the film.[2] He later stated that while he had no film making experience, he made the film as a love letter to martial arts and action movies and admitted that it fell into the so bad that it's good category.[3] Bennett was a fan of both Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal, both of whom he would eventually work with. As a result, the film is heavily influenced by films featuring the two stars, particularly Hard Target and Bloodsport.[4]

The car crash towards the end of the film was not intended, but was included for dramatic effect. The crash is shown in a post credits sequence. Production started using a Sony Hi8 camera (which got destroyed during filming) and all scenes were reshot when Shay Casserley took over as Director and Camera operator shooting the film on SVHS.[5]


In 2010, Luke McKinney of Cracked.com labeled the film "the worst film ever made."[6] The Irish Post named it the worst Irish film of all time,[7] and the Irish Independent wrote that it is "now regarded as one of the worst films ever made".[8] Entertainment.ie placed it on its list of "10 So Bad They're Good Movies You Need To See Before You Die".[9] The film has had something of a revival in popularity, largely thanks to video and written essays poking fun at the film's story and technical details.[10][11][12]


  1. ^ "Fatal Deviation Jimmy Bennet on Nationwide 1998" – via www.youtube.com.
  2. ^ https://theactionelite.com/interview-with-james-p-bennett/
  3. ^ "365Flix Talk | James Bennet | Fatal Deviation" – via www.youtube.com.
  4. ^ "Jean Claude Van Damme | Worsemovies".
  5. ^ https://www.amazon.ca/Fatal-Deviation/dp/B00009ZK5T Quote: One of the great things about the film is that one of the car rollovers which happens in the film was not supposed to happen at all but the stunt team got carried away and you will see a real wreck that nearly killed some of the actors.
  6. ^ "Ireland's Only Kung Fu Movie (Is The Worst Film Ever Made)". Cracked.com. July 3, 2010.
  7. ^ Lonergan, Aidan (August 16, 2018). "A definitive ranking of the 7 worst Irish films of all-time". The Irish Post. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  8. ^ "Westlife: what next?". Irish Independent. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  9. ^ Lloyd, Bryan. "10 So Bad They're Good Movies You Need To See Before You Die". entertainment.ie. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Fatal Deviation (1998) - OSW Film Review!" – via www.youtube.com.
  11. ^ "Fatal Deviation - Shitcase Cinema review" – via www.youtube.com.
  12. ^ "Fatal Deviation (1998) (Obscurus Lupa Presents) (FROM THE ARCHIVES)" – via www.youtube.com.

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