2.5 out of 10
Release Date: 17th March 2014 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Ronnie Thompson (Tower Block)
Cast: Tom Hughes, George Russo, Alex Reid, Noel Clarke, Josh Myers, Ian Pirie, Lee Charles, Joe Egan and Miranda Raison
Writer: Ronnie Thompson
Trailer: I AM SOLDIER
To Be Proofread: I Am Soldier is a very incompetent dramatised version of a British Army recruitment video. Think of a British version of Acts of Valour, mix it with those army ads you see at the cinema and add a dash of Brookside you’re about there. Near the end you can also expect to have a side order of a filmed Quasar session too. Hanging it’s beret on the rites of passage hook, even the least seasoned film viewer will know the drill. In fact so slavish to the template is I Am Soldier it lays cliches to waster left right and centre. It wants to be Top Gun but this low budget pretender is less thrilling or informative as watching kids play with action men toys in the back yard.
Ex-Army chef Mickey (TOM HUGHES – 8 MINUTES IDLE) begins the arduous course to become an SAS soldier. On his quest he’s joined by his wing-man (who’s character arc echoes Top Gun’s Goose a little too closely for comfort) JJ (GEORGE RUSSO – TONY) to get into the world’s elite fighting force. Instructors Carter (NOEL CLARKE – STAR TREK 2) and Dawn (ALEX REID – THE DESCENT) make it hard for them but you know deep down that their ‘alright people, really’. Periodically a bank of text will pop up to inform us what the exercise our heroes are embarking on involves. Whether or not they both pass is not up for debate and then the whole film culminates in Mickey completing his first ‘live’ mission and freeze frame declaring I AM SOLDIER in giant, jubilant typeface.
Director Ronnie Thompson co-directed Tower Block with James Nunn (GREEN STREET 3). This is his first solo effort. He’s fared less well than his old partner in crime although Green Street 3 has it’s own crimes to answer for. Admittedly, Thompson has tried to make an alternative lads film that tries something different form the countless thug movies around. That’s the only positive point that I can muster. So clunky and obvious is every single beat of the story that you could probably tell me what was going to happen, who was going to fail the course, who was going to die, who was going to get their knickers off etc. It was just too safe and dull too recommend. Tom Hughes may have looked the part but he’s a personality void in this flick. Flashbacks to a skydiving accident don’t really register and seem there as an empty swipe at characterisation. Noel Clarke is OK but has nothing to add. A shame because he looked like he was finally on his way after his minor but important role in Star Trek 2. The film throws away any good will a less discerning viewer may have had with a really poorly staged ambush sequence that stands in for Mickey’s first real mission. If these guys are SAS they don’t look or act like it. The resulting skirmish is just a bunch of badly co-ordinated soldiers shooting randomly at some fat guys in 80s clothing. It has all the involvement of watching a game of Quasar on one of the monitors in the foyer. I had previously singled out Mercenaries for having the least convincing bunch of soldiers in. At least we know where they got trained now as these guys suck.
2.5 out of 10 – Poorly mounted recruitment film that fails on dramatic and technical levels. It’s a lame rush job. I’ve dunked better soldiers in my breakfast egg. Who Dares Wins? Here, everybody loses.
Review by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher below
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Tom Hughes: Project Lazarus, The Incident, London Town, 8 Minutes Idle, About Time, Cemetery Junction, Sex & Drugs & Rock-N-Roll
- George Russo: Trespass Against Us, London Heist, Bonded By Blood 2, Top Dog, Green Street 3, Turnout, Tony, Zebra Crossing
- Alex Reid: The Facility, Misfits (TV), Love Me Still, Wilderness, The Descent, Ultimate Force (TV)
- Noel Clarke: The Habit of Beauty, The Anomaly, Saving Santa (voice), Star Trek 2 (2013), The Knot, Storage 24, Fast Girls, Huge, Screwed (2011), Heartless, 4-3-2-1, Centurion, Sex & Drugs & Rock-N-Roll Doghouse, Adulthood, Kidulthood, Dr Who (TV), Auf Wierdesen Pet (TV )
- Josh Myers: Bonded By Blood 2, Razors, The Rise of The Krays, Anti-Social, Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3, Green Street 3, Zombie Diaries 2, Psychosis
- Ian Pirie: The Last Photograph, Sunset Song, Pressure, DaVinci’s Demons (TV)
- Joe Egan: Mob Handed, Lords of London, The Magnificent Eleven, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Freight, Killer Bitch
- Miranda Raison: AfterDeath, Silk (TV), My Week With Marilyn, MI-5 (TV), Deuce Bigalow 2, Match Point