3 out of 10

Release Date: 28th July 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Paul Tanter (The Fixer / Age of the Living Dead (TV)/  The Disappearance of Lenka Wood /Dystopia (TV) / No Easy Days (TV) / He Who Dares 2 / Shame The Devil / The Hooligan Wars He Who Dares / Essex Boys Retribution / White Collar Hooligan 2 / Fall of the Essex Boys / Rise of the White Collar Hooligan / Jack Falls)

Cast: Simon Phillips, Josh Myers, Sephora Venites, Akbar Kurtha, Paul Tanter, Rebecca Ferdinando, Charlotte Lewis, Petra Bryant, Rita Ramnani with Nick Nevern and Vas Blackwood

Writer: Paul Tanter


See review by Matt Usher aka Joe Pesci II below




  1. MEET THE FIRM: REVENGE IN RIO – review by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher

    RISE AND FALL OF A WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN was a passable and sometimes entertaining caper film (albeit without any significant football or hooligan-related elements). I can offer no comment on its sequel WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN 2 as the newly privatized Royal (‘let’s give George Osborne’s best pal a few million quid overnight’) Mail failed to deliver a copy to me. I’m actually quite grateful about that if the third film in the series, MEET THE FIRM (a title which, you will note, eschews the titling-protocols of its predecessors) is any guide. It goes beyond awful into the realm of embarrassing tripe. Exhibit one: Simon Phillips. He’s beginning to find his range as an actor: basically he’s pretty good at wheedling losers who should be comic sidekicks to the main act. Alas, here he is the main act. His ‘method’ is to play each line as it comes, ideally for comic effect. As the writer didn’t bother to come up with any character for this character (which is bizarre for someone making his third appearance), Phillips doesn’t bother creating a character either. The result is, basically, some bloke standing cluelessly in front of the camera looking dumb. Unsurprisingly, Mr Phillips is absent from the DVD cover. But he is not alone in the miscasting stakes! Exhibit two: Josh Myers. Whereas Phillips can be OK when properly cast, Mr Myers is not an actor. He plays (with all the vigour and brio of a dead turkey) the long-lost and previously (I assume) unmentioned step-brother of Nick Nevern. Where’s Nick Nevern? After all, he gets his mug on the DVD cover. He does turn up, but for only one scene, in which he gets killed. Why did he bother turning up? Contractual obligation? A favour to his pals? The fact that his scene happened to include a stripper (female)? Or did he walk out on being offered a role in MRS BROWN D’MOVIE? Regardless, the scene between Nevern and Phillips feels like it’s meant to be some sort of private joke between Nevern and Phillips. The comedy is excruciating, and the scene seems to go on forever. If either of them ever does achieve a modicum of mainstream success this scene will be played on chat shows to shame them.

    But what is MEET THE FIRM about? And what does its enigmatic subtitle REVENGE IN RIO denote? The second half is easier to explain: our two alleged heroes (Phillips and Myers) go to Rio in order to exact revenge from the Dodgy Foreigner who kills Nevern. However, at no point do we meet any firm (except the gang of not-at-all-stereotypical South American pimps and drug dealers that cause Myers a spot of bother after he beats one of them up and gets some free samples from a prostitute who belongs to the gang, a prostitute who also just happens to have a genuinely coincidental connection with the Dodgy Foreigner our heroes are seeking). But why Rio? Well, it’s the World Cup of course. And remember our heroes (and villain) are all keen football-followers, apparently.

    Following a long set-up trawling through the backstory of Phillips’ and Nevern’s relationship, Phillips teams up with Myers and they decide to plot a bit of revenge. For those who like hooligan films to have a smidgen of hooliganism in them then this is the highlight of the film. Phillips encounters Myers whilst the latter is engaged in a fight in an alley with some other hooligans. Phillips finds Myers again a few days later, seemingly involved in the same fight in the same place, almost as if they filmed the two scenes immediately after each other and couldn’t be bothered to find a new location, or new extras.

    So, the Dodgy Foreigner is responsible for the murder of both Nick Nevern and his wife (Rita Ramnani appearing in (I guess) a lot of flashbacks from the second film of the trilogy). And he killed their Unborn Child. Yes, the Unborn Child bites the dust again, for at least the seventh time in a Simon Phillips film. Why does he insist on killing them? Is he trying to work through some private tragedy? Or is he really just incredibly lazy and content to rely forever on foetal fatalities in order to give his characters some sort of emotional heft? Myers repeats the mantra ‘…and their Unborn Child’ time and again to remind us just how bad the baddie is. (I suppose they had to do something, as the villain is uninteresting, insipid and spectacularly easy to kill.)

    And so Phillips and Myers stomp off to Rio, hoping to watch a match in between bouts of vengeance. Before going they call in on the film’s version of M, played by the film’s director, Paul Tanter. Yet again the scene is achingly elongated for no reason other than those involved seem to have a masochistic desire to spout abysmal dialogue at each other. Eventually it ends, as I hope, does Tanter’s acting career (if only the rest of his film-making career could follow suit). Once in Rio our dull duo get into a few scrapes then head off to the big confrontation with the Dodgy Foreigner. Then Simon Phillips buys West Ham Football Club (a moment of comedy gold there – please assume sarcasm whenever you see the phrase ‘comedy gold’.).

    For me the film is redeemed by a simple punch. Hopeless lunk Myers has to punch a henchman. We see him throw the punch, and we see the henchman fall to the ground. And yet we see about six inches of thin air between fist and face at the moment of impact. I guess the film-makers didn’t do a retake because they knew most people would have switched off by this point. It’s worth waiting for. Almost.

    This is bad even by the usual standards of the Phillips-Tanter stable. Lovers of the hooligan genre will be confused. Fans of normal films will, if they’re lucky, never even be aware of it.

    Addendum: my lovely editor has just sent me a copy of WHITE COLLAR HOOLIGAN 2. Words cannot express what this means to me.

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