4 out of 10

Release Date: 11th October 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Paul Tanter (Once Upon a Time at Christmas / Mad World / Kill Ratio / Dystopia (TV) / No Easy Days (TV) / The Disappearance of Lenka Woods / He Who Dares 2 / Meet The Firm – White Collar Hooligan 3 / Shame The Devil / He Who Dares / Essex Boys Retribution / White Collar Hooligan 2 / Fall of the Essex Boys / Rise of the White Collar Hooligan / Jack Falls)

Cast: Nick Nevern, Peter Barrett, Charlotte Lewis, Glen Murphy, Simon Phillips, Glyn Grimstead, Krzysztof Skonieczny, Thomas Thoroe, Pooja Shah, Martin Fisher, Anna Brecon, Nicola Posener, Ewan Ross, Sean Cronin, Johnnie Hurn with Mark Cooper Harris and Lorraine Stanley

Writer: Paul Tanter


Review below by Matt Usher aka Joe Pesci II




  1. THE HOOLIGAN WARS – review by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher

    Ice cream: it’s great isn’t it? I think Paul Tanter is a huge fan too (or maybe he did an advertising deal with Mr Whippy) because there’s a scene in THE HOOLIGAN WARS which burns with love for ice cream (obviously burning ice cream is bad but you know what I mean). Our hero, played with lovable enthusiasm by Nick Nevern, is a former footballer (in an opening sequence we see his leg get bashed up by nasty foreigners) turned ice cream man. And what a great ice cream man he is: there’s a joy-filled montage as our happy hero dispenses cornets to beaming children, all accompanied by joyous mothers, all delighting in the sweetness of the greatest confection ever devised. Ice cream brings such radiance and pleasure that even advertisers would baulk at some of Tanter’s shots. But there is a cloud on the horizon, and it is a cloud from the east. Evil bald Polish ice cream men with guns have taken over the area! They force nice Nick off the lucrative patch. (I love the line where Nevern admits that selling ice cream doesn’t pay as much as professional football.) How can he fight back? He does a deal with the local devil (Peter Barrett delivering his trademark vicious oik performance) who multitasks as a pornographer, football hooligan, loan shark and pimp (he’s a villain). Barrett agrees to help naïve Nick and before you know it the Poles have been pulverised though not vanquished, and normal Nick is in Barrett’s debt. How does he pay back the debt? By despoiling the sanctity of his trade and selling drugs from the back of his ice cream van! The contrast is palpable: the succession of happy ice cream licking families is replaced by a desultory mooch of anorak-wearing lank-bearded drug addicts, all flinging aside their cones of delight to get to their powders and pills of despair. Nick isn’t happy, but his wife is too dumb to guess the truth. She’s pregnant with their unborn child®, which means Simon Phillips is present, this time as the wheedling best friend. The police arrive and there are some boring conversations as they try to turn Nick into a nark. So nervous Nick is a pawn stuck between good old British gangsters, good old British bobbies and foreign evil bald Polish ice cream round usurpers. The film potters along with lots of characters plotting things that never occur (‘I’ve a good idea’ says Barrett’s henchman, played by the ever-awful Mark Harris; ‘good idea, we’ll do that’ says Barrett; but they don’t). But from nowhere it somehow all ends in a delirious climax: the best friend fights for his life in hospital (unsuccessfully), a ‘brutal’ shoot-out occurs (possibly in a circus) which finally ends the Poles and their dreams of ice cream domination, a bad guy gets squashed by a runaway ice cream van driven by a London’s Burning veteran (I’m not making this up), and the unborn child® is successfully born, ironically on the very hospital bed on which his uncle (yes it turns out that Simon Phillips is also Nevern’s brother-in-law) dropped dead (honestly I’m not making this up). As a reward Nick’s leg injury mysteriously heals and he gets to try out with a football team (though we don’t see any football of course).

    A great artist’s single-minded determination to realise an artistic image can mean that he/she seemingly recreates he same work over and over again. The composer Bruckner wrote eleven symphonies in his attempt to depict God in symphonic form. Lesser artists and charlatans just churn out the same old tripe. Which brings us to Paul Tanter. If you’ve seen any of his numerous other films featuring the world ‘hooligan’ or starring Nick Nevern or Simon Phillips (or both) then you‘ve already seen this drivel. There’s slightly more hooliganism than usual (nearly a whole scene), and there are at least two scenes inside football clubs. The script tries to shoehorn Phillips in, but there’s little sign of the chemistry that makes their most successful collaboration (the tolerable RISE AND FALL OF A WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN) just about worth watching. There are plenty of standard Tanter staples: dodgy foreigners, pregnant woman in peril, a showdown in the multi-storey car-park near Nick Nevern’s house, and a tenuous connection to the film’s title.

    Nevern does his best, but how does one accurately chart his character’s descent? Our hero goes through a veritable myriad of personae: promising sportsman, bitter outcast, happy ice cream man, unhappy ice cream man, victim of violence, unwilling drug-pushing henchman for evil hooligan pimp, loving but deceitful husband. How can one man portray this dizzying array? Nevern generally does a cheeky smile when things are good, and hangs his head low when they’re bad. It’s a simple performance and it’s more than the film deserves. It was a nice idea to have him play someone utterly out of his depth for once rather than being a hard nut from the start (oh hang on, that’s also the case with WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN). Simon Phillips and Peter Barrett play exactly the roles that they are almost quite good at (and should be having specialised in them so exhaustively). There are some token women allowed in: Charlotte Lewis suffers stoically as Nevern’s idiot wife, Nicola Posener plays a police officer who looks like a strippergram, and even Lorraine Stanley struggles to make an impression. And then there’s Pooja Shah who seems to have wandered on from the set of Casualty and gives one of the film’s few competent performances as a doctor/nurse/midwife/whatever medical person the script needs.

    Who is this film for? Anyone who has suffered other ‘hooligan’ films can give this one a miss with confidence. Maybe if you share Tanter’s view of immigrants (they come over here with their bald heads and beat up our hard-working ice cream men) then you might find some entertainment here. Yes, this is strictly for people who think UKIP is too sensible.

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