LOOTERS, TOOTERS AND SAWN-OFF SHOOTERS

2 out of 10

Release Date: 22nd September 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Paul Lee King & Darren James King (Blood Feud)

Cast: Steve Brunton, Paul Lee King, Bert Truby, Dave Courtney, Keith Ackerman, Saffron Sprackling, Darren James King, Steve Blunder, Rory Locke, Stefan Seward, Luke Fazer-Wright, Tommy Ivers-Grant, Dean Maskell, Mickey Curate, Jill Buchanan and Bruce Jones

Writer: Paul Lee King & Darren James King

Trailer: LOOTERS, TOOTERS AND SAWN-OFF SHOOTERS

UnknownAmateur boneheads plague the UK gangster genre yet again in this laughable attempt. Even the title highlights the dearth of imagination on display in Looters, Tooters and Sawn-Off Shooters. Messy, incoherently plotted and badly acted this gangster flick has one of the worst scripts I’ve seen in a film for some time. Only a bizarre scene where a Jean-Claude Van-Damme lookalike arse rapes a locker is worth mentioning because it’s as weird and as creepy as anything you’ll ever see and has no place in the movie either. Was it an attempt at comedy or a scream for help from the minor actor who defiles himself so vigorously!? We’ll never know unless the King Brothers get to make another giant turd like this.

Ex-criminal lump, Charlie Thompson (STEVE BRUNTON – GATWICK GANGSTERS) returns to London after ten years in exile when he learns that his angelic nephew Danny (TOMMY IVERS-GRANT) is murdered. Little does he know that old enemy CHELT (PAUL KING – BLOOD FEUD) had the murder arranged to flush Charlie out of retirement. Also in the mix is Danny’s dim petty -crim brother, Frankie (BERT TRUBY)  who also wants revenge. Charlie enlists old pals Micky (DAVE COURTNEY – KILLER BITCH), Pete (STEVE BLUNDER) and Roy (BRUCE JONES – SOULBOY) to help him but times have changed. Chelt now controls the city and taking him down isn’t going to be that straight forward.

Actually killing Chelt would be really easy if all the characters weren’t a bunch of slow-witted idiots who stand around talking in pubs having arguments in slow motion. There’s a lot of (badly delivered) dialogue in Looters, Tooters and Sawn-Off Shooters. All the participants seem to be reading their lines off an auto-cue. This is unfortunate as everyone seems to have a sad story to share at the drop of a hat. Everybody’s on a high-horse and everybody has a score to settle. At over 90 minutes, there’s a lack of plot momentum. Characters get killed purely because the leads are wasting time talking about how big and scary Chelt is. That Chelt is played by the writer and director (Paul Lee King) this doubles as a unfortunate dose of low-level ego gone rampant. Saying that, he is one of the better am-dram-gangsters on show.

Bruce Jones shows up in an extended cameo as Roy. A supposed ‘mr fix-it’ who’s about as competent as a drunken sock puppet. Poor Bruce. A plot to eavesdrop on Chelt’s office by planting a wire in a bag is really weird and pointless and only serves to highlight that our hero Charlie is probably one of the dopiest characters ever to grace a crime movie. It’s unfortunate that he’s got competition in the talent void playing his sappy nephew Frankie. It’s like his only previous acting experience is inside one of those giant teddy bears that give out leaflets in the High Street. Every movement and gesture is over done as if he’s wearing a giant suit. The script just flummoxes the poor kid and lands him in trouble more than the rest.  Yet again Dave Courtney puts in another committed performance. His new role is something of a stretch from his normal king pin role. Here he just plays a connected  ‘mate’ of Charlie’s.  He’s a decent actor trapped in joker central. However, best acting honours goes to unknown Steve Blunder as another one of Charlie’s mates. He’s perhaps the most sympathetic character on offer.

On the whole, this is yet another attempt to give us a great UK gangster film in the tradition of The Long Good Friday or Get Carter. What we get instead is a sub-par episode of The Bill at a golfer’s walking pace. It’s slow, plotted by retards and acted (largely) by illiterate egotists.  A moratorium on this sort of film ought to be called as Looters, Tooters and Sawn-Off Shooters demonstrates that the UK Gangster film is now overrun by the filmmaking equivalent of Sunday drivers.

2 out of 10 – Weird and creepy in a bad way. As thrilling as sex with John Major.  The UK gangster movie is dead.

Another review below by Matt Usher.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “LOOTERS, TOOTERS AND SAWN-OFF SHOOTERS

  1. Review by Matt ‘YouTubes, Boob Tubes and Grey Pubes’ Usher

    I tread softly, for I tread on the dreams of the King brothers, who are quite vocal in defence of their film. And I understand them protecting a labour of love they’ve released into the world. But it’s one thing to make an amateur film with friends and well-wishers. It’s quite another to sell it to complete strangers. Had they made their film freely available we could appreciate it as a no-budget first-time amateur effort made for the sheer joy of making movies.

    But the Kings have chosen to turn it into a moneyspinner. And no-one should purchase this film (currently overpriced on Amazon at £2.99) unless they know what they’re getting. So, acting solely in the public interest, I gently offer my thoughts on this dismal, dreadful, dire disgrace, this inexcusable blot on the face of the medium of cinema, this insult to humanity.

    The title indicates the cheeky-chirpy-Cockney-caper category, but the theoretically decent, if familiar, plot attempts something grimmer. Charlie is an ex-gangster, exiled from London (possibly as far away as Stevenage) following some past catastrophe which is the source of the current argy-bargy. Meanwhile Chelt (ridiculous name) seeks vengeance. He’s a psycho who shoots window cleaners for leaving a smear (and he can’t be touched by the police despite his criminal empire comprising merely a garage and seven bored hoodlums). He murders Charlie’s estranged young nephew, hoping to lure Charlie back to the city (a journey of about three miles). Obviously, there’s bad blood between chalky Chelt and cheesy Charlie but we’re meant to be on Charlie’s side because he feels bad, though Chelt’s gripe isn’t unreasonable (presumably the actor felt the role required more depth, which is fair enough as he wrote the script) (odd using the word ‘actor’ in this context).

    Charlie returns to the manor he left so long ago: literally it’s turn right at the local pub and he’s back. Charlie’s not-dead nephew, Frankie (supposedly our hero – a rough diamond forever failing those nearest to him – his finest moment is declaring he won’t hide from his enemy, then scarpering 65 seconds later when the shooting starts), isn’t happy to see Charlie back. Their rift is something which neither Chelt nor the script bother to exploit. Ultimately, after weird subplots involving hidden microphones and nonsensical kidnappings, the two gangs gang up and have a shoot-out in a pub with the lights out for budgetary reasons.

    Much occurs in pubs. Mostly middle-aged men reminiscing about how violence was better in the olden days. One former gangster has found God, whilst another garbles on about Chelt’s ‘psychotic blue eyes’. This speech is so bad Ralph Fiennes would flounder. The amateur who does deliver it didn’t stand a chance.

    Fans of idiosyncratic acting will find much to delight in. As Charlie, Steve Brunton is bullish but comes a cropper when attempting more tender emotions. There are several who come from the wooden plank school of drama, and others who clearly didn’t expect to find themselves on screen (like Bruce Jones). The pub landlord, who seems contractually obliged to swear every third word, is the pick of the bunch, a

    natural performance in a sea of people trying to act like characters from films. The boy playing Frankie has clearly spent all his preparation time on his hair rather than his acting. Even Dave Courtney struggles, possibly because he’s not playing his Dave Courtney Crime Boss role. He’s meant to be a cockney Yoda.

    These films rely on the quality of their villains. Alas, Chelt doesn’t convince. It’s not just the actor (a King brother, who seems to know what he’s attempting) but the character. He’s so annoying you can’t imagine him lasting more than five minutes before someone bumps him off.

    But pride of place goes to the police. This camp duo (Keith Ackerman and Saffron Spracking) are a joy. In a world of faux-butch mugging, they fly the flag for an older iteration of the amateur actor. It’s like they’ve been imported from an old-fashioned am-dram production of a minor Ayckbourn. They’re all earnest eye-rolling and total misreading of the (ludicrous) script. ‘It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen’ says Sprackling, sounding like she’s talking about a bad film rather than a (supposedly) horrific murder. Meanwhile Ackerman huffs ineffectually and wonders why someone would leave a corpse near a busy road (so busy more than thirty cars use it every day – more than one per hour!). But bringing life to this lumpen dialogue (he tells her not to get too involved in the case because she can’t have children) is a comical, impossible task. These two should have their own show.

    Bruce (Les Battersby) Jones turns up to inject gravitas and credibility as a cut-price Q. He fails, partly because he’s rubbish, and partly because the role is superfluous (many people turn up to deliver one or two lines presumably because they’re friends of the film-makers or paid for the privilege). Which maybe explains the locker. Maybe the ‘actor’ involved had always wanted to do this scene. Or maybe they intended filming a sex scene but forgot to contract an actress, so they improvised. It has some tentative plot-related validity (the locker-licker is a bomb-maker whose amorous activity distracts him from his job with hilarious consequences), but its presence is otherwise a mystery.

    In the annals of the low-budget-crime-thriller-genre there is much that’s jaw-clatteringly astonishing (in a bad way). L,T&S-OS is down there with KILLER BITCH and UNARMED BUT DANGEROUS as a film where no-one seems to know what they’re doing (so the film-makers deserve acknowledgement for completing and releasing the thing) (whether that’s a good thing to do is debatable). And like those two it’s ambitiously preposterous. Unlike them I think the film’s begetters were aiming for something relatively straight. Locker-love aside, this lacks the quirkiness which gives KILLER BITCH and UNARMED BUT DANGEROUS their (very) peculiar veneer. So, despite the best efforts of its crime-busting double-act, L,T&S-OS can’t quite compete in the so-bad-it’s-good stakes.

    PS What is a tooter anyway?

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