FREIGHT

1.5 out of 10

Release Date: DVD premiere 2010

Director: Stuart St Paul (Bula Quo!)

Cast: Billy Murray, Craig Fairbrass, Danny Midwinter, Sam Kennard, Laura Aikman, Luke Aikman, Zslot Nagy, Stephen Uppal, Natalie Anderson, Jean Heard, Matt Kennard, Joe Egan with Michael McKell and Andrew Tiernan

Writer: Stuart St Paul

Trailer: FREIGHT

Freight is the result of what happens when stupid people get half an idea in their heads yet fail to do any homework.  The writer and director, Stuart St Paul is the idiot at the centre of this debacle. What can best be described as a  ‘racist event movie’, Freight concerns some ‘good old’ British gangsters facing up to some despicable Russian gangsters who specialise in human trafficking.  The goodies, who we’re meant to be rooting for because they run a community boxing gym, are now legit because they supply portaloos to the great and good.  When the head of the family, Abe (BILLY MURRAY – STALKER) tangles with Russian gangsters over a stolen toilet, events escalate and Abe’s daughter (LAURA AIKMAN – KEITH LEMON) get’s kidnapped and put into bondage by the bad guy, Cristy (DANNY MIDWINTER – INTERVIEW WITH A HITMAN).  What follows are a string of inert and messy scenes where the good guys endlessly drive around in a bunch of beat up 4x4s (looking like a mockney Wacky Races)from place to place looking for the bad guys. There are cage fights and sub-plots involving enslaved boxers, strippers and Abe’s three sons.  Craig Fairbrass (GET LUCKY) muscles in as Abe’s number two, who says things like “the next 48 hours are crucial in a kidnapping” like he know’s what he’s talking about.  Stakes are raised and a ‘tit-with-tit’ war stitched to the front of a badly acted and plotted issues film that trundles on…and on.

Freight is nothing more than an exploitation movie, and one that celebrates the fact that the UK should be the domain of reliable, cuddly British criminals and not dirty foreign ones who don’t care for the laws of our nation.  I’m not belly aching for an equal opportunity gangster movie but it’s a ridiculous movie with bad ideas and no discernible thought or research beyond reading headlines torn from last week’s Sun Newspaper. At one point the comedy Asian son-in-law, Zaf  (STEPHEN UPPALL – HOLLYOAKS) (all he’s missing is a squint – he’s got a funny voice though) is questioned about the bombing at the gym because his family don’t want him involved with a white family. “Did your lot do this?”, “No, they might hate you but they don’t make bombs”. Such is the script.  It wouldn’t be that Zaf’s family don’t like scumbag criminals could it, no they have to be racists because they don’t like your ‘honest to god cor blimey London gangster’ just like every other foreigner or traveller in the movie.

The acting is chronic and the direction is sloppy. The only half decent aspects in the film are the car crashes and the cage fights.  Other than that Freight is a very, very long and hard slog.  Andrew Tiernan (WAR OF THE DEAD) regails us with another terrible accent, this time its a Russian one. Danny Midwinter seems to have drank a bottle of hot sauce before each take as his take on lead big bad is explosive but out of kilter with Billy Murray’s standard cruise control job and Craig Fairbrass‘s redundant posturing.  By the time we roll around to the climatic fight between Fairbrass and Cristy’s last standing henchman, Emil (JOE EGAN – STRIPPERS VS.WEREWOLVES) we’re past caring whether the sex slaves or Billy Murray‘s daughter are OK are not.  There are some really unwelcome hints that a sequel could be considered too. If there is I’m moving to Romania.

1.5 out of 10 – Unspeakably bad in all departments. Terrible plot, terrible acting, racist plot and ideas, no research and on top of that it’s very boring.  The worst Billy Murray movie in some time. Avoid like the sex trade.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “FREIGHT

  1. FREIGHT – hilarious review by Joe Pesci II….

    Billy Murray is a gangster, former SAS operative / spy / something secret in the government and now toilet salesman (it says ‘streetwise businessman’ on the DVD blurb). His daughter (Laura Aikman) is about to be married to an Asian called (Stephen Uppal), but the silly boy gets trapped in one of his father-in-law’s porta loos which is being stolen (for reasons never explained) by a gang of people-trafficking bad foreigners who may be Russian or Romanian (is it the characters who are ignorant or the film-makers?).

    This may be a little unfortunate. But it gets worse. Murray has three sons. Two of them lose their jobs to some illegal foreigners. (More about that later.) So, off they go to do some illegal cage fighting. Guess what! The toilet-stealing foreign bad guy (Danny Midwinter munching on scenery and spitting it out, possibly literally) is also the guy who organises the illegal cage fights! Guess what else! Murray’s son gets killed in the cage. (It’s only after he gets killed that we actually learn that he is Murray’s son though I suppose the fact that he’s the spitting image of Murray’s first son (what with them being played by twins) was a bit of a giveaway.)

    Murray declares war. And what a war they all have! Murray has a small private army of bald thugs at his disposal. So does Midwinter. ‘I love this country’ snarls Midwinter ‘the police can’t touch me’. Possibly because no-one calls them. He frequently shoots people in the back (seemingly at random, and sometimes his own employees, and I’m sure some of them die more than once), but the screenplay seems to be constructed primarily from Daily Mail headlines, so he gets away with it. (Even death cannot stop him.)

    There are a number of showdowns between Midwinter and Murray, scattered between fight scenes for no real reason. (It is rare in FREIGHT to find any scenes that lead naturally to any other scenes.) My favourite exchange is this:
    ‘All this for a toilet?’ snarls the volcanic Midwinter.
    ‘One of my men was inside.’ deadpans Murray (I’m not sure if he’s meant to be deadpan but anyway), ‘Even if he hadn’t been, I would have come and got it. I always get them back.’ He’s talking about a portaloo. It made me wonder how often they get stolen. The film-makers have thought of this. Apparently streetwise Billy has quite a problem with stolen toilets, which are usually pilfered by ‘pikeys’, who usually give them back. (Well you would if Craig Fairbrass was holding a gun to your head and using his hard-as-nails / half-asleep expression. Does he have any other expression?)

    Later, Midwinter phones Murray and explains his approach to business,
    ‘Bogfather. Here’s how I negotiate. I will burn every toilet you have. Then I will burn you.’
    I laughed. But then I realised that Midwinter meant every word. Show me another actor in the world who could get through that line without laughing. And then consider, if this is a man who can burn toilets, well, he’s a very scary man indeed.

    We see more evidence of his scariness as he terrorises everyone he comes into contact with. He kills a paedophile for arguing over the price of a little girl. And we know the film-makers are completely out of their depth because we see the little girl. It’s not a film about paedophilia, but it all adds a bit of colour to the film’s racist rantings, so that’s OK.

    Meanwhile mad Midwinter, as well as being responsible for cage fights and illegal builders, also has a brothel, a lap-dancing club, and, most sinister of all, a sauna. He’s quite an entrepreneur really. But his people skills are poor. There is a moment where an eastern European woman, understandably reluctant to pursue her new career in prostitution / pole dancing / working in the sauna, runs down a corridor and jumps through a window. It is one of many shots so bizarre that it demands to be seen to be believed. She does it very well, the stuntwork is impeccable. But it is very obviously a stunt rather than someone running for their life. Other Midwinter highlights include the bizarre beating of a black chap in a wheelchair who exists purely to get his head bashed in (I think with his own wheel).

    The film fails on two levels: conception and execution. If they were aiming for a hard-hitting expose of the people-trafficking business it fails. Instead it seems to be saying that trafficked people pretty much deserve all they get. In that sense FREIGHT is a BNP recruitment video. At the end, the film brandishes a fig leaf of statistics. If you’re using statistics then surely your film should be looking at the stories behind them? At the businessmen and consumers who benefit most from cheap labour and cheap prostitutes. The real villains are entirely absent here. (Maybe that’s the idea?) Instead all we get is middle-management Midwinter spouting every Sun opinion piece from the last decade. But he’s not alone. Let’s return to Murray’s dead son (before being dead).

    ‘No papers no tax no nothing. They take all our jobs because they work cheap, then buy our football clubs because they’ve got all the money. It doesn’t make sense.’ No mate it doesn’t. Where to begin? The fact that this is spouted by a sympathetic character suggests it’s the moral of the tale. But are they really suggesting that Roman Abramovich saved up to buy Chelsea whilst working as an NHS porter? It doesn’t make sense. Obviously people feel this way, and it’s right to reflect that, but usually when people say stupid things in films they end up looking stupid. True the lad winds up dead, but I digress. Isn’t it nearer the truth that illegal workers are being employed illegally by cost-cutting bosses? So, isn’t it the bosses who are in the wrong? Well, the only boss in this film is Billy Murray.

    You could argue that this is not a film about the debate thought. And my word, you’d be right. You could argue that this is simply a cheap and cheerless thriller. (And that would explain the pole dancer writhing about on the DVD menu.) But the thriller element is absent. So is any semblance of film grammar. Also absent are believable characters.

    Aside from the confused politics there is a lot of very confused narrative and motivation. Do women usually try their wedding dress on then pop down the local gym to show it off to a bunch of thugs? And just why does Midwinter kidnap her? A baddie (a foreign one obviously) has a sinister laugh. He actually says ‘ha ha ha’. And day and night are interchangeable here. And let’s single out Andrew Tiernan and his dodgy accent. He’s not the worst offender, but he’ll do. And believe it or not, there’s a Pregnant Woman In Peril. And then there’s the Asian subplot. ‘My family would do anything to stop this wedding’ says Stephen Uppal. Fairbrass takes him at his word when the Russian-Romanians start blowing things up. ‘Did your lot do this?’ A bit later the lad goes to see his dad, a shopkeeper (obviously). It seems quite reasonable that he doesn’t want his son to marry into a family of crazed gangsters. And there’s a punch-up in a garden for no apparent reason involving no-one we’ve yet seen.

    Hearteningly, FREIGHT is a family affair. That’s one way of keeping those filthy foreigners out. It is directed by permanent EMMERDALE stunt co-ordinator Stuart St Paul. His wife is in the film. So is their son, and their daughter. And her boyfriend. And his twin brother. I’m sure they’re all there on merit.

    FREIGHT: hideous, repellent, incompetent, hilarious. Look out for St. Paul’s newie which wisely side-steps politicking of any kind. It’s called Bula Quo and stars Status Quo and Craig Fairbrass. Shit!

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