3 out of 10

Release date: 3rd January 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Paul Tanter ( The Fixer (2016) / Dystopia (TV) / The Disappearance of Lenka Wood / No Easy Days (TV) / He Who Dares 2 / Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3 / Shame The Devil / The Hooligan Wars He Who Dares / White Collar Hooligan 2 / Fall of the Essex Boys / Rise of the White Collar Hooligan / Jack Falls)

Cast: Ian Virgo, Billy Murray, Ryan Winsley, Kyle Summercorn, Alex Esmail, Kye Loren, Martin Fisher, Paul Marlon, Yasmin Mitri, Nalan Burgess with Lorraine Stanley and Vas Blackwood

Writer: Paul Tanter


essexret.jpgEssex Boys Retribution is a fictional sequel to Fall of the Essex Boys.  Essex Boys Retribution claws an extra point over it’s predecessor in that it’s original material and it doesn’t have three preceding films covering identical ground. There’s no Essex Boys, Rise of The Footsoldier or Bonded By Blood equivalent to this ‘effort’. I doubt that this will ever see anyone trying to remake it though. I’ll be very surprised indeed, but not as surprised as I was to see this film in the first place.  I was warned by an industry insider that like it or not there where more Essex Boys films to follow Fall of the Essex Boys and I laughed and thought, enough is enough. Well at least this is not another tired remake. That’s all it’s got going for it. Literally.  What it’s got against it is that it’s a tired sequel, and it seems like a cash-in because it only barters tenuous links to the first film.

A mysterious prisoner (to the audience) played by Billy Murray (RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER), back to murk the film casting chronology universes, is interviewed by a journalist (MARTIN FISHER – VENDETTA) about a new breed of Essex criminal.  This all new, sleeker, tech-savvy order of ‘Essex Boy’  is always one step ahead of the pigs. They can make drugs from legal over-the-counter products whilst smoking cigarettes next to flammable chemicals. They could be immortal. They are also oblivious to how obnoxious, unfunny to anyone but themselves, uncool and un-anything they are. When they make the move up the crime ladder they also seem to be  unaware that eliminating the ‘old-school’ could get them killed and as technophobic as old-bill may be they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. So what is the ‘prisoner’s’ connection to the new gang?

I actually forgot to listen to listen, so I don’t know. But most of what Billy Murray was telling us was again employed with that mock awe-inspired tone that Nick Nevern adopted for his narration in part one – the one as if he’s describing a fight in the school playground.  More problems arise when you look at some obvious slips in details. Scenes change from day to night in a heartbeat, Billy Murray has a deep tan and really long hair (is hair that long allowed in jail!). He looks like he’s just walked off the beach. The dialogue is repetitive, the acting on the most part is over the top but better than anything in Fall of the Essex Boys. There seems to be some chemistry between the central four actors Ian Virgo (WITCHVILLE), Alex Esmail (ATTACK THE BLOCK), Kyle Summercorn (TURNOUT) and Ryan Winsley (PIGGY). Unfortunately, the dialogue and their roles are all one-note. As there is much less event to cram into it’s slender 80 minutes – there is a bit of time to try to establish them but this only serves to expose the writing short comings of the author, Paul Tanter.  Out of the four – Ian Virgo does his overacting crazy loon schtick that I haven’t seen since Just For The Record Alex Esmail is sadly the most miscast as a weedy chemist  – who seems as unlikely drug dealer as you’ll ever seen in a film.  And that’s a shame because Esmail showed such promise in Attack The Block – he really needs to get some better work; I think Kyle Summercorn will be the actor that will outgrow this kind of crap soon and get to the level of Daniel Mays or Ben Whishaw within a few years. He’s been a standout in each of the films Britpic has seen him in. As for Ryan Winsley, it was unfortunate that his character was the equivalent of ‘Animal‘ out of the Muppets and is left with little more to do that shout ‘c*nt’ a lot.  The next Essex Boys film should have a character that only ever says that word.  His name could be ‘Mr C*nt.’

The plot was OK. But tedious. The outcome could have come earlier and was fairly pleasing apart from Ian Virgo‘s gleeful reaction when his fate is unveiled – an awful display of overacting. The only pluses that can be gained from watching this are that it doesn’t repeat the missteps of Fall of the Essex Boys. It hasn’t any truly bad casting anomalies like that of Jay Brown or Ewan Ross from the first film. It’s an original story. The story is OK. I liked Lorraine Stanley (MADE IN DAGENHAM), Vas Blackwood (WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN 2) and it was nice to see Billy Murray for the first time in ages do his usual thing. Its just that it rolls along like its way too pleased with itself but it’s not cool, or ahead of the curve. It’s puerile, sluggish, dim-witted, unfunny and not half as smart as it thinks it is. It thinks its the last Coca-Cola in the desert when it’s really super market brand goats spunk. It did get my attention though and it’s bound to sell heaps to an undemanding variation on today’s true English man.

3 out of 10 – Think of this as the Essex Boys equivalent of The Muppet Babies to the Muppet Show. An annoying spin-off that somehow improved on the part one by learning from a few of it’s predecessor’s mistakes. Mind you, it was hard to find a worse film than part one, right?

Second review below by Matt “Rise of the Yorkshire Pudding Boys” Usher





  1. Review by Matt ‘The Rise and Fall Over, Go Back To Bed for Retribution’ Usher

    And so the cycle ends, but it does so with a new beginning, though this beginning
    also contains its own end which buggers up my poetic intent. But we’re talking about Essex Boys, not poetry, so that’s all right. Hopefully you are aware that the Original Essex Boys© were murdered/executed/put out of our misery twenty years ago in events dramatised more often than anyone could ever have believed. So they’re dead to begin with. This is no impediment to an inventive film-maker. Nor is it an impediment to Paul Tanter who has masterminded Essex Boys: The Next
    Generation. The film’s big idea is that these new Essex Boys are more modern than their primitive predecessors. They’ve got lawyers, and phones, and can even use the internet! Personally I think Tanter errs in killing them at the end, I’m sure he could put them through a few more scrapes (hooligan, Ibiza, horror). I would apologise for the spoiler, but I think I’m doing you a favour, ‘cos this lot are so rubbish you’ll be
    rooting for their deaths from the start. And besides Billy Murray tells us as much
    pretty early on anyway.

    Ah yes, Billy Murray as the mysterious prisoner. At times it’s like listening to Billy
    Murray reading an audiobook, he drones on so much. His identity is revealed at the end of the film, though it’s not much of a surprise. What is a surprise is why he tells a journalist how his own son committed murder.

    But Murray is only our narrator. Our team of budding baddies comprises four remarkably uninteresting young men, three of whom are supposedly brothers. Ian Virgo plays the boss. He is a curious performer – is he an actor without ego, fearlessly performing with such unrestrained abandon that he cares not one jot what people think of him so long as we are able to get to the essence of the vile characters he plays? Or does he actually think he’s funny? I’ve thought seriously about this, and I say this with heavy heart, as I don’t want to stamp on a young man’s dreams. But Mr Virgo is shit. If you think ‘Dapper Laughs’ is a hoot you may find something in his performance to enjoy. If you’re a normal human being you will pray he gives up acting and tries something which inflicts less pain, like arms dealing. Kyle Summercorn plays the gang’s ladies’ man. He isn’t a natural performer. Ryan Winsley is the third brother. He is a natural performer, but his purpose here is to portray rage, which he does by hitting people and calling them a very rude word. Curiously this reprehensible behaviour makes him surprisingly endearing, his is a simple world where one has two choices: call something a c***, then hit it; or hit it, then call it a c***. It’s almost Buddhist in its purity. They employ a fourth team-member as a ‘chemist’ (hobbit-like Alex Esmail). He manufactures the drug they sell and does all the work. One might assume the plot would have him strike out alone or be tempted by a rival firm. Or he might realise the brothers are using him. These avenues aren’t pursued. Instead he gets killed first. (Sorry, I must stop doing that.)

    The remainder of the cast is efficient, though the usually excellent Lorraine Stanley is surprisingly subdued as a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her gangster-overlord-lady. Paul Marlon as a man with a problem and a gun is agreeably angry, Vas Blackwood is even more ill-used than Stanley. Kye Loren plays the policeman with a vendetta. He’s mostly good but there’s a (would-be) comic sequence where he interrogates each of the gang and they run rings round him. It’s unconvincing because you expect him to be equipped to deal with their clever soddishness. But he just gets exasperated. Then again, we’re meant to be in hysterics as Mr Virgo does his hugely comical routines.

    At one point Loren is given fourteen days to gather evidence against the gang, who shut up shop for the duration. At one point – giggle! – they send takeaways to the police surveillance van. You’d have thought that would be enough to curtail the investigation. Wrong. Our policeman staggers on to the bitter end, and even gets taken off the case.

    But I must congratulate Mr Tanter for a bit which looks like a properly composed, thought-out, visualised shot (as opposed to the usual Essex Boys movie method of shoving a camera in the direction of whichever dickhead is shouting loudest). After a night of debauchery our anti-heroes and their rented lady-folk are in hungover states of undress and exhaustion. They awake slowly in their flat as the camera surveys the Babylonian excesses from above. In almost any other film this would be of no account, but here in a work of Tanter, who has rarely struck me as being particularly visually-minded, we have a shot which just seems to be a bit inventive. True, the presence of under-dressed ladies helps, but it’s all a bit arty and left me briefly worried that the film might start looking and behaving like a real, grown-up film (it doesn’t). Speaking of under-dressed ladies the film deserves an award for most rubbish excuse for nudity ever. A half-naked woman appears. Quizzed as to the whereabouts of her apparel she looks puzzled by this difficult question, before recalling that one of the brothers had hidden her clothes (the scamp!). This has little to do with the plot.

    Oh yes, the plot. They sell drugs, kill some gangsters, annoy the police and die.

    And so the cycle is done. Retribution occurs. Meanwhile in the rival ESSEX BOYS: LAW OF SURVIVAL, well, retribution occurs there as well. What both films demonstrate is that all you have to do to recycle the cycle is to slap the words ‘Essex Boys’ onto the DVD cover and ensure that at least one character in the film displays an enthusiasm for range rovers. Truly, this is only the beginning…

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