Rise of the Footsoldier (2007)

Rating: B

Dir: Julian Gilbey
Star: Ricci Harnett, Terry Stone, Craig Fairbrass, Roland Manookian

‘Drag Pawns at War’.

Whaht?  Well, that’s what my notes say.  No… …no-no, that doesn’t sound at all right… oh… wait, I see now… …it’s drug pawns at war… okay… that makes sense.  Let’s start again, wiv a warm wewcum ta Lunduhn yeh, you slaag!

It’s based on real-life people and events.  And:
“Give me my fucking money, you cunt!”

It’s set post Falklands war, and deals with a lot of very scummy people dealing out some very sharp, very British dialogue, and some very believable, very real violence.  Nope, you won’t find 12 minutes of ju-jitsu parkour here.  Here it’s CLUMP, “you cunt!”, and it’s all over.  A word to the wise, if you like a film where you root for the protagonist, then don’t watch this film.  There isn’t one.  They’re all cunts.

Got the tone yet?  If not:
“Get the fuck out of my club, you cunt!”

Let’s welcome Tony Tucker, ex Army, who has the worst haircut in all of Christendom.  He, by way of saving a lad being beaten up, rather than eat his kebab, has landed himself a job as a doorman at Hollywood, the very glamorous and not-so-premier nightclub in sunny Romford.  An area of Lunduhn well renown for… for… erm… …football violence.  (Sorry, it’s the best I had.)

And as the music changes and dance, techno and drug culture arrives, Tony is soon head doorman, along with all of the ‘benefits’ that come with this.  Oh, and the problems.  And problems are exactly what Basildon club owner David Simms has, and using his well-stocked roller-deck (ask your dad) calls in Bernard, played by an older and ‘much more gentle’ Mr Vincent Jones, Esq.

We also meet, erm, ‘Do you know who I am? I’m Basildon-Joe!’, who lives life firmly on the ‘problem’ side of any equation.

It’s nicely shot and very well acted across the board.  Gritty.  Portraying a slow circular descent into hell, and before you know it Tony and Bernard are the beating heart of the door team… sorry… management… at Raquel’s (Basildon).  This is also where Tony is introduced to, and loves, gear, and so meets his new partner in (literal) crime Craig, and the charming Mrs Craig, Donna, who is unhappy when Mr Craig returns having the spent the whole night, erm, ‘working’…

“Okay, let me smell your cock then!!”

Got the tone yet?  Look, these are shitty people in a shitty life, doing as best they know how.  Brutal, British, bloody, everyone here is either a bastard or a bitch.  No more heroes any more.  Oh and did I mention that Basildon-Joe is back?  Well, it’s war now, and also time for a montage as, with a little help from the Pet Shop Boys, down they all go into Hell, with Tony leading the charge.

And in the end, it’s not the end, but a beginning.  Sort of.  This is London brutally and very well played as a very visceral dog-eat-dog-eat-dog world, where no-one is anyone’s friend.

Nah you cunts, youv’ad enuf and you can fark-orf!

“Fancy a pint?”

Very solid, if horrible and repellent, although you will remember what you saw the day after.