Director: Zackary Adler
Starring: Craig Fairbrass, Emily Wyatt, Emma Butt, Shaun Ryder, Larry Lamb, Jamie Foreman, Daniel Stisen,Roland Manookian . UK . 1h 39
Rise of the foot solder (2007) was such a brilliant insight into the world after football hooliganism. Coming to screen around the same time as other brilliant British movies such as Cass (2008) it crested a wave and it’s brilliance among the genre really glimmered., it was brash, ambitious and savage. Often run into the ground by critics but while it’s not acclaimed it’s bloody brilliant.
After this a range of sequels and Rise of the foot soldier II (2015) saw the return of Carlton Leach, Bonded by Blood (2010+) ran alongside the Foot soldier story.
But now it’s the rise of the Prequels! The notorious gangster Pat Tate (Fairbrass) is the star of this slightly off par run up to greatness. It’s bizarre that the producers have now gone back to one of the prolific and annoying characters to no re tell more details.
The film starts out ok, Pat is in Spain trying to land a huge deal and causing a lot of havoc while whacked off his face on drugs and dealing with a new rival.
The second half of the film is a violent insight into his time in prison, this is the meaty part of the film for me where Pat and his crew manage to take down his rivals, physically and with brutal tactics, reminiscent of revenge scenes from classics like Infernal Affairs (2002) or do I dare say The Godfather (1972), heads are smashed, naked guys chucked out of windows and lightbulbs become deadly weapons. It’s a burst of well formatted vulgar violence which was a highlight for me.
The most obvious problem with the film is that Tate is just not a person that is likeable , we don’t learn a lot about his actual history, like how did he become such an asshole, unless we’re supposed to gleam that notion that he’s always been “that guy”. Tate is portrayed as having no redeemable qualities, he cares for no one and is rude, hateful and self centred, he’s constantly threatening his (fairly) loyal girlfriend, but as his character doesn’t change and he remains an ass, it’s hard for you to ever root for him, there’s just no development.
There are many inconsistencies with the original films, and it’s hard to this as a prequel as everyone is older, but it’s not without merit. It is filmed well, with a similar tenacity as the others. The attention to detail of the early 90’s and matching music is pretty spot on, but it seems the approach to acting and character development is less is more.
Generally I felt pretty disappointed when I first watched the film, I was impressed by the prison beat down but while the film is about Pat, Pat is just such a nonce that he makes the film less enjoyable. A slightly different perspective or some more changes in the man might have made the movie become as brilliant as the others but it drained what is a brilliant effort.
… but I still love that beat down
R: Rise of the footsoldier (2007), Rise of the Footsoldier II (2015), Cass (2008), the Firm (2009), Bonded by Blood (2012)
5s: Craig Fairbrass, Roland Manookian