PATRIOTIC GANGSTER POSTURING
, 03 Oct 2012
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
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Here comes the directorial debut of UK gangster movie stalwart Frank Harper (TWENTTYFOURSEVEN). A humourless but competent mix of Rise Of The Footsoldier and the original Italian Job. Cousins Ray (CRAIG FAIRBRASS - DEAD CERT) and Mickey (FRANK HARPER) are at the top of the crime pole in London. Ray is about to quit the game to set up a holiday resort in Spain. Mickey has to set up one last job to buy his cousin out. They risk everything they have on a shipment of ?50M worth of drugs in a deal with the Russian Mob. Needless to say, there are complications and the pair, along with their crew have to find a way of getting the Mob their money. The subsequent plot involves tagging along with a football firm to a game in Berlin where they can pull off an elaborate heist. All the while they have a police snitch on the payroll and an obsessed cop with a vendetta, played with a pongy whiff by Jamie Foreman (NIL BY MOUTH).
So far so predictable, right? Well yes. Everything here has a place and it's all present. Even the cast have played musical chairs from the last gangster movie. Vincent Regan (300) and Craig Fairbrass in particular know this territory well. So why did I like it. Simply, on it's own terms it delivers. The acting is generally solid and the direction is standard. The plot is predictable but watchable. No surprises needed. What I could have done without was Frank Harper's needless narration, where he come across like an East End take on Marvin The Android from Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. It's banal and dopey. The script is work men like but there is chemistry between the leads which probably comes from the amount of times these guys have worked together. Again special mention goes to Neil Maskell (PIGGY), who is on another level to any of the other actors. He showed us in Kill List that he can be very individualistic and given the right project he can be captivating. His character Jimmy, is way down the pecking order here but he's the most convincing on show in a gallery of roles that go from the cartoonish; Jamie Foreman, on up to text book Hollywood laconics from Charles Dance (ALIEN 3). I had hoped that Kill List had opened a few doors for Neil Maskell further up the hill. But whilst he's in films like this he will always raise the ante. Sean Pertwee (EVENT HORIZON) shows up in a larger role than we're used to seeing him in these days as a bent cop. He's essentially wasted as usual and yet again avoids his standard gory death! Surely his main reason for turning up to a movie set is to get minced, shot, disemboweled, cooked or beheaded. He just gets a d*ldo waved at him on this occasion and called a w*nker behind his back. Someone write Blue Juice 2!
Amazingly, and we were surprised, the 'C' word is only used five times. It's not worth counting the 'F' word though because that's in here a lot, as is the word b*ll*cks. To which we get an English lesson half way through as to how brilliant a word it is. Did you know that 'F***' was an anagram? Me neither. It means Fornication Under Consent Of The King.... Well I never. I won't admit to not knowing previously what the word posh stands for either. Got to leave at least one surprise if you didn't already know.
St. George's Day is far from perfect,its ridiculously patriotic, misquoting Shakespeare all over the place, there are quite a few technical gaffs and the plot is average. But on the whole it is very enjoyable if you like this kind of film. It's anonymously directed by Frank Harper, but at least it's not needlessly over flashy like the recent Offender or The Man Inside (2012). It's also streets ahead of Bonded By Blood or the Jack Trilogy. The best directorial debut by a British actor from this camp since 2010 has been Dexter Fletcher (LAYER CAKE) and his Wild Bill (2012) movie. This would take the bronze after Anuvahood by Adam Deacon or maybe 4-3-2-1 by Noel Clarke. Harper certainly rounded up a great cast, with exception of Jamie Foreman, who is wildly off-key this time. This is a shame because he was great in the recent Screwed (2011).
4. 5 out of 10 - It's far from a disaster. Enjoyable out of familiarity and comfort rather than it's own merits. Elevated by good acting. Terrible voiceover though. At least it's better than most of its contemporaries. Someone send Neil Maskell's agent some better projects.
88 ** britpic . wordpress. com ** 88
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