DANGEROUS MIND OF A HOOLIGAN

6.5 out of 10

Release Date: 19th May 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Greg Hall  (Bonded By Blood 2)

Cast: Paul Marlon, Simon Phillips, Samuel Anoyke, Roger Griffiths, Lauren Rollins, Mark Savage, Peter Woodward, Rita Ramnani and Mark Sangster

Writer: Greg Hall

Trailer: DANGEROUS MIND OF A HOOLIGAN

MV5BOTkzNTMyNzU4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjY0OTc1MTE@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_For a Paul Tanter / Simon Phillips production Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan  is shockingly good because all their other films (except one or two) are very shit. But yet again this has barely anything to do with football hooligans (or even any type of hooligan). I think Tanter et al, rely on the fact that one word (HOOLIGAN) will bring them loads of money. Put together all their movies  and you have about 3 minutes of football hooliganism and that’s the truth. Thank god films with the word ‘tampon’ aren’t popular as Simon and Paul would be making Day In The Life of a Tampon, I’m a Tampon Get Me Out Here, Rise and Fall of a Cheap Tampon etc.  What we have here is a competent and entertaining homage/rip off of Reservoir Dogs, Revolver and Wild At Heart (I think.)

A gang of bank robbers, previously unknown to each other, rob a bank. We see the robbery, the lead up and the aftermath in a jumbled chronological order favoured by filmmakers in the early 2000s. We see lots of tributes to Quentin Tarantino: a character gets killed by not taking his gun to the toilet; the warehouse where the gang first meet is very reminiscent of the one in Reservoir Dogs; there’s a vengeful, satantic otherworldly cop in panto-dress on their trail, who’s definitely trying to be a Scots Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper‘s character from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet)(MARK SANGSTER). So it wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve in ten foot neon-letters, yet it works. As all things heist-like, the plan goes tits up when the leader of the gang gets fatally shot and the gang go on the run without a plan and place to divide the money. Why they stick together for so long isn’t clear. Oh yeah, they take a useless hostage too (LAUREN ROLLINS). The gang consists of ex-boxer Danny (PAUL MARLON – ESSEX BOYS RETRIBUTION), Caesar (SAMUEL ANOYKE), Anthony (SIMON PHILLIPS – HE WHO DARES), Michael (MARK SAVAGE) and Rowntree (ROGER GRIFFITHS – AMA).

For once Simon Phillips seems well-cast as the wimp of the bunch and he always seems at ease when working in an ensemble as opposed to a leading role like his grandstanding embarrassment in He Who Dares. The other members of the gang are equally good giving a little bit of depth and shade here and there to potentially stock characters. I liked Paul Marlon (who is relatively new to me having only seen him as an assassin in the woeful Essex Boys Retribution) who takes a shine to his hostage and who demonstrates on a few occasions that there is still honour amongst thieves. Elsewhere gravitas is brought to the ensemble by Roger Griffiths (who is one of those faces you’ve seen for years but couldn’t put a name to) and newcomer Samuel Anoyke is the itch and scratch. His character Caesar provides all the friction and electricity needed. Essentially this is a straightforward d-movie elevated by nice acting, a pretty sharp script, nice plotting and a good degree of complex editing. The plot has some interesting plot developments (some work, some don’t), but mostly this is a low-budget triumph.

It has to be said though that a lot of the films bad points can be dropped on Mark Sangster‘s doorstep. His portrayal of a demonic cop is beyond pantomiming. His wardrobe is out of kilter with the world around him and he seems to be addicted to breath fresheners? The film also tries to turn itself into a David Lynch film whenever he’s onscreen too but a combination of Mark Sangster‘s bad acting, the weird choice of lighting and just about everything else in these scenes is out of whack with the rest of the film. It’s like they’ve been edited in from a way poorer film. A stand off in a hotel corridor between him and Paul Marlon almost pasts muster but this single-handedly reminded me that I was watching a Paul Tanter/Simon Phillips production.  I don’t know who this actor is but he was bad. Other bad aspects were a cringe-worthy game of cards between the hostage and Paul Marlon. Well performed but very unlikely.

Despite all the negatives, it’s the second best Paul Tanter/Simon Phillips film after White Collar Hooligan and that’s because of the good acting and that they pulled off the jumbled narrative story telling device. The script is above average for this type of thing too. Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan comes with reservations but if you like this kind of straightforward bank heist movie, there’s lots for the uncynical viewer to enjoy – although it’s a lot to ask your regular viewer to tolerate the continuous Tarantino steals.

6.5 out of 10 – A competent quickie that steals from the best but has a few ideas of it’s own. Great performances from a largely unknown cast, this is Paul Tanter and Simon Phillips best production in donkeys. Just don’t expect to see any hooligans. Here’s to Rise and Fall of the Tampax Twins.

2nd review below – ‘In The Dangerous Mind of an Ewok with a writing disorder’ aka Matt Usher

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “DANGEROUS MIND OF A HOOLIGAN

  1. DANGEROUS MIND OF A HOOLIGAN – review by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher

    Reader beware! This is a more than half decent Paul Tanter film! (Obviously, had Tanter not been involved it would just be a mediocre film, but it’s very high on the Tanter scale.) And I think I’ve worked out how he does it – he gets some bloke called Greg Hall to make it instead. SHAME THE DEVIL, a competent if stupid thriller masquerading as a horror is described on the DVD cover as ‘A Greg Hall film’. And now we have DANGEROUS MIND OF A HOOLIGAN written and directed by this Greg Hall fellow. And for the most part it’s pretty good, apart from three or four utterly fatal flaws (a plot problem, an acting problem and several characterisation problems).

    The set-up may be familiar to you: a bunch of ne’er-do-wells, previously unknown to each other, have been assembled to carry out a bank robbery which goes wrong! The gang escape with the cash and a hostage, but it’s the brains of the operation who’s bitten the bullet. What do the rest of the gang do without their leader? This last conundrum is solved pretty easily – they decide to head for Ireland. But there’s a twist (another which you may be familiar with) in that someone in the gang may not be all he seems. As it turns out this particular twist is badly thought out, illogical and explains less than it answers, but before you have time to moan about it, another twist comes along and trumps it in improbability (but is in itself much more credible). So you may have spotted a few similarities with an early Tarantino film – I can’t really comment about that seeing as I fell asleep the only time I tried to watch that film, but I stayed awake through this. (Hey Tanter, I give you permission to use this quote: ‘less sleep-inducing than RESERVOIR DOGS.’)

    So you’ve seen it all before, and to be fair there’s not much that marks this one out as being particularly original. But it does score in two key areas which have generally been Achilles heels in the Tanter canon: dialogue and acting. I have little idea how bank robbers talk, and I guess that Messrs Tanter and Hall don’t either, but the dialogue here is unusually sharp. The script actually sounds like things people might say to each other (once we’ve got past a tedious barrage of ‘oh f***’ at the start). And, pace Tarantino, these characters talk about real things, like food (I assume the ‘hamburgers are controlled by the government’ sequence is a PULP FICTION homage, but it’s still very good, even though it inadvertently unveils the traitor). The quality of the dialogue perhaps helps lift the performances of the actors, most of whom are not amongst the usual suspects. One usual suspect though is our old pal Simon Phillips. He plays a failed businessman who turns to bank robbery to stop loan sharks sending him dead pets. Phillips, so awful in SHAME THE DEVIL, HE WHO DARES, the JACK trilogy and BONDED BY BLOOD (amongst others), is excellent as a loser. This is probably the best performance I’ve seen from him (and I’ve seen far too many).

    Elsewhere there’s excellent work from Roger Griffiths (frankly he’s far too good for this film), Paul Marlon and Samuel Anoyke (though he does stumble over his lines at a crucial moment) as the other bank robbers. The side is let down a little by Mark Savage as the boss who gets killed (that’s not really a spoiler) whose acting is from the Grange Hill School of Acting (literally so as he was the infamous Gripper Stebson in that famous show). But his performance is a masterpiece in understatement when set against the bizarre performance that is coaxed from Mark Sangster. He plays a policeman who is on the trail of the gang yet seems to have some sort of insider knowledge. That’s fine, but it doesn’t explain the breast-beating or the howling on a car roof, or the curious get-up – he looks like Edward G Robinson dressed up as a Gestapo officer whilst doing an impression of Captain Caveman. The performance is awful but then so is the role. Indeed everything to do with this character’s involvement in the film seems to exist in some sort of parallel universe. Most peculiar.

    Now, you may have noticed something else that’s a bit peculiar. Here we are about 700 words into this review and there’s been no correlation between the subject of the film and its title. You may think that there is no connection at all. You would be wrong. The film gives us the back-stories of all the major characters, and towards the end we find that one of the robbers (Paul Marlon) was once a football hooligan. So there. (I bet that was Tanter’s contribution – a rubbish chase with some blokes wearing scarves and bobble hats.) True, he has probably the least dangerous mind of any of the characters (including arguably the innocent female hostage who has a dark secret as well) but DANGEROUS MIND OF AN UNHAPPY BANK CLERK doesn’t have the right ring does it? At one point the film makes great play of the dodgy policeman using psychological warfare tactics against the gang, but the film-makers sort of forget about that after a while.

    So DANGEROUS MIND OF A HOOLIGAN is mostly well acted, has some excellent dialogue and has a stolen plot which makes no sense. The filming and editing (nice kitchen bit – the bit with the food preparation not the fatal stabbing at the end) are way above the usual standard for this sort of thing and some attempt has been made to give it an interesting and clever structure. Obviously if you’re looking for a film about what goes on in the minds of football hooligans you should look elsewhere. But you could do a lot worse than this. This Greg Hall fellow could turn out to be quite interesting…

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