Detective Sergeant Michael Logan (Peter Ferdinando) has long been scratching the backs of drug traders, much to his financial advantage. But when one of his contacts is brutally murdered before his eyes, the rules change and Logan is no longer calling the shots. To add to the copper’s newfound paranoia, he also finds himself investigated for corruption as David Knight (Stephen Graham) turns up to run the show – and boy do this pair have history.
Considering Logan heads up the drugs squad, his team don’t appear to do a lot of work. His tower block flat plays host to cocaine-fuelled parties for his police pals, with the office a playground for Nerf gun battles and bumbling, embarrassing banter. When a pair of Albanian brothers with a taste for the narcotic and sex trades turn up, this bunch of inept officers are required to pull up their socks and reevaluate their priorities.
Reliable hard man Neil Maskell is blessed with little more than ‘c-word’ outbursts, and it’s a shame the bespectacled Keith (Tony Pitts bringing the only genuine laughs) doesn’t get more to play with. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief when Stephen Graham shows up, but he isn’t granted enough screen time to make a lasting impression. From unwarranted racist remarks, to female characters who either partake in rape and lap dances or – in the case of MyAnna Buring’s Lisa – are shortchanged completely, Hyena takes pride in being caked with depravity. However, for the most part there is a surprising lack of violence – that is, until a second act Jackson Pollock-inspired incident that carves the way for more moments of plain nastiness.
By the time the final third rolls around, things start to pick up and a tangible sense of tension thankfully threatens to rear its head. But, with the troubled Ariana (Elisa Lasowski) the only character worthy of salvation, it’s hard to find the strength to invest in what unfolds. Unfortunately, the decision to combine the drug and sex story-lines also lacks the deft hand it requires, resulting in a frequently messy and often confusing overlap.
Ferdinando’s Michael Logan was never going to rival Ryan Gosling’s Driver or Kim Bodnia’s Frank, but the comparisons to both Drive and the Pusher trilogy are inescapable. His everyman works (most apparent in his final moments onscreen), but is worthy of far more.