4 out of 10

Released: 8th August 2012

Director: Ron Scalpello (Pressure)

Cast: Joe Cole, English Frank, Shaun Dooley, Kimberley Nixon, Tyson Oba, Scorcher, G. Frsh, Malachi Kirby, Daniel Kendrick, Jacob Anderson, David Ajala, Brian Vernel, Mark Cooper Harris, Simon Phillips with Ruth Gemmell and Vas Blackwood

Writer: Paul Van Carter

Trailer:  OFFENDER

Striding confidently into UK cinemas this week could have been the British equivalent of Le Prophet.  What we have instead is a style heavy re-tread of an old Jean Claude Van Damme movie called Death Warrant.  A young man (JOE COLE – NOW IS GOOD) loses everything at the hands of a thug (English Frank) and follows him to youth offender’s prison to eke his revenge.

This is a competent if unoriginal little film with very good performances from a game cast on the whole.  It would have scored higher if it didn’t contain the worst acting performance I’ve seen in quite some time from a highly unlikely individual. Come on down, UK’s ugliest Grime rapper, English Frank.  Seriously, I really hope its the last I see of this over acting monstrosity in a film.  He essentially ruins what could have easily been filed in the “good but nothing special box”.  He is wooden, over posturing, has terrible diction and is unfortunately hilarious. As top-boy on the wing he is about as frightening as a pink sock puppet, with worse dialogue, apparently he’s been in and out of institutions since he was “crapping rusks”.  Lame.  Coming across like an update of Scum, Offender gets tripped up by the makers’ over confidence in their players talents.  Joe Cole performs well but his character disappears in a whirlwind of bloodletting and mayhem towards the end and never re-surfaces.  Theres a great supporting cast, namely Shaun Dooley  (EDEN LAKE) as the sadisitic screw, but they cannot save it. As an aside, the cast is largely made up of real life offenders and first time actors.

The script is competent but the story runs on rails.  No plot beats or even characters deviate from type.  The direction is over flashy as well with the director’s penchant for slow motion and coloured filters ever present.  Jean Claude would have been happy with the amount of slo mo.  I think there’s more slow motion in Offender than in his Hard Target. Possibly 20 minues worth.

Offender is predictable, unoriginal, mostly solid but ruined by a truly bad acting showcase from rapping potato, English Frank. He’s rotten. He should audition to be a Smith’s Crisp, he’d have better luck.  The script adds nothing to the already busy UK jail genre, and has no message or moral.  This is only for fans of well-choreographed scrapping. It does mark the lead Joe Cole out as one to watch though.

4 out 10.  Please let this be the only English Frank movie, EVER! (we wanna be Smith’s Crisps!)



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