WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY

3 out of 10

Release Date: 26th December 2014

Director: Sacha Bennett (Tango One / Get Lucky / Outside Bet / Bonded By Blood)

Cast: Ian Ogilvy, Alison Doody, Danny-Boy Hatchard, Lysette Anthony, Chris Ellison, Tony Denham, Dani Dyer, Red Madrell, Johnny Palmiero, Nathan Clarke, Nicky Henson, Elijah Baker, Sagar Radia, George Weightman featuring Anouska Mond, Adele Silva with James Cosmo and Steven Berkoff

Writer: Dougie Brimson, Gary Lawrence, Sacha Bennett

Trailer: WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY

we_still_kill_the_old_way_xlg

TO BE PROOFREAD: After the relative heights of Vendetta and Top Dog, producer Jonathan Sothcott has backed a lame donkey with this tired Harry Brown / Reservoir Dogs-style revenge flick.  At face value it would seem that a safe game has been played by the makers producing another revenge flick following the sucess of last year’s Vendetta – however in the latter Danny Dyer  (it’s lead actor) pulled out all the stops to deliver a wrought and layered character, whereas the vengeful creeps in We Still Kill The Old Way are cardboard cut-out stereotypes who are hard to root for.  In Vendetta there was a real sense of loss and retribution – in We Still Kill The Old Way we have a lazy script and threadbare plotting.

Former London gangster Richie’s (IAN OGILVY – RETURN OF THE SAINT) brother Charlie (STEVEN BERKOFF – RED 2) is murdered by young thug Aaron’s (DANNY-BOY HATCHARD – EASTENDERS) gang after he interrupts the gang-rap of Lauren (DANI DYER -AGE OF KILL) . Richie decides to assemble his old crew and avenge Charlie. Meanwhile, the a dogged copper Taylor (ALISON DOODY – MAJOR LEAGUE 2) is determined to stop  the gang war before it begins.

Films like this stand or fall according to how good the villain is – here we have newcomer Danny-Boy Hatchard putting in a staggeringly overripe performance along the lines of English Frank‘s in Offender or Jay Brown‘s in Fall of the Essex Boys. His film debut is a corny blend of overplay and pantomime shenanigans. He’s not helped by Dani Dyer as the least convincing rape victim in the history of cinema (she even has a milkshake with one of the attackers afterwards!) Debuting in Vendetta, she showed some promise – here she’s exposed as out of her depth even in what has turned out to a really basic one-note role.  The film only comes to life when the central cast of Ian Ogilvy, Chris Ellison (THE BILL), Tony Denham (FALL OF THE ESSEX BOYS) and James Cosmo (BRAVEHEART) share banter – whether reminiscing about the old days or torturing Aaron’s footsoldiers. You get a glimpse into how lively and fun the film could have been if it had ever gotten into full swing and given them more screentime to shine. However, they’re thinly sketched beyond their function within their crime clique. Many scenes ring false, our hero Richie intimidates recent rape victim Lauren into helping him in her place of work – this is a sickening scene and naive writing – not even Death Wish / Sin City  or the most misogynistic of crime flicks would get something so wrong. She seems more frightened by her encounter with her avenging angel than her rapist. It just doesn’t ring true and is perhaps the worst fictional portrayal of a rape victim ever written. Lysette Anthony (THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE) pops up in her first major role in years as Richie’s former crush Lizzie and all she does is hang around in a shit beret extolling the virtues of old-school criminals compared to the yobs of today. My god does her character whinge. She has the Eastenders equivalent of 10 years of moaning. In some quarters the film has been congrstulated for giving space to strong female characters. This is a red herring and female viewers would feel right to be angry. The rape scene and the victim’s recovery was scripted without thought or research and is a gross insult eventhough this film pretends to be a rote-thriller.

The violence and rationalisation of  all that it contains is strictly comic strip – one that rarely crackles to life. It’s a large step-back for Richwater Films after the excellent Danny Dyer comeback vehicle Vendetta and the above average Top Dog. We Still Kill The Old Way is pedestrian and tedious exercise and does very little to add anything new to the already crowded pantheon of UK Gangster films. It’s also unfortunate that this was released the same week (on DVD) as the way superior and similarly plotted The Guvnors that improves on We Still The Old Way in absolutely every department – they both feature Tony Denham and he’s way better in the former. Now Britpic has just learnt the really depressing news that Richwater Films will be producing Bonded by Blood 2 – yet another Essex Boys murder legacy movie.  Their hot-streak was depressingly short which is a shame I was really hoping they’d go from strength to strength. I’d sooner see a sequel to his production Unarmed and Dangerous than watch another Landrover murder movie! At least We Still The Old Way is from an ‘original’ (and I use that word spuriously) script!

We Still Kill The Old Way lacks the gloss and slickess of Vendetta too. The action scenes here are clunky and the climatic shoot-out in a hospital ward is difficult to follow or enjoy. A better script, more attention to detail, a stronger cast with no Danis or Danny-Boy’s, better written lead roles and a better range of cardboard cartoon cut-outs this could have been fun -instead it’s a hollow, callous and boring chore.

3 out of 10 – Buy The Guvnors instead. Very similar plot yet it doesn’t insult yor intelligence or get the very ‘serious’ subject of rape so very, very, very, very wrong. Way off base. Seems Jonathan Sothcott and co ‘Still Film The Old Way’. Let’s hope his next production Age of Kill entertains.

PS: There are threats of a sequel on the way that targets bankers. The Daily Mail would be proud.

Second review from Matt Usher aka Joe Pesci II below.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY

  1. WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY – review by Matt Usher aka Joe Pesci II

    The following is a transcript from the archives of a prominent British film producer. People have died to get this to me. Don’t let their sacrifice be in vain.

    Producer: I need a rapeable girl for my new movie Danny, any ideas?
    DD: By golly old chap, my very own daughter is an aspiring
    thespienne who might relish such an opportunity.
    Producer: She’s going to be horribly gang-raped.
    DD: Worry not my good man. My daughter is a professional, a chip off the Dyer block. And it’s high time she started contributing to the Dyer family’s grocery-bill. I starred in BASEMENT simply to put food in her tummy, and I think the least she could do in return is get gang-raped in what will turn out to be a minor part of the plot, one which might easily be jettisoned completely, but these are the sacrifices one must make in order to put a few crumbs on the table.
    Producer: OK, If you’re sure, she’s got the job. What’s her name?
    DD: Dani.
    Producer: No, I know your name, Danny, I regularly employ you – you even played me once. I’ve probably fed your starving kids for the past decade.
    DD: You misunderstand old bean. My daughter’s name is Dani.
    Producer: You’ve named your daughter after yourself?
    DD: You got a pwoblem wiv that you c***?
    Producer: No, sorry Danny, put the candle-stick down! I also need someone to
    play the rapist. Any ideas?
    DD: My son!
    Producer: What sort of pervert are you?
    DD: I currently star in popular soap Eastenders purely to feed the starving Dyer brood. Why not employ my televisual offspring, he’d make a good rapist.
    Producer: What’s his name?
    DD: Danny.
    Producer: Get the **** out of my office.

    And so, whilst he was busy in TV-land, Danny Dyer’s spirit lours over WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY, a film which succeeds in being guiltily likeable and horribly reprehensible and embarrassingly bad, sometimes simultaneously (just like Danny Dyer).

    Steven Berkoff and Ian Ogilvy play latter-day Kray brothers (sadly they share no scenes other than a brief phone-call). Now retired from ruling a London borough with their own mix of brutal violence, charm and brutal violence, Ogilvy swans around Spain shooting cactuses and flirting with his own daughter. (Freud would love this film.) Meanwhile Berkoff does Berkoff-stuff in the pub. One night he interrupts a gang gang-raping Dani Dyer. For this public-spirited act, chief-rapist Danny-Boy Hatchard, kills him. The police arrive disguised as former Indiana Jones Nazi Alison Doody and some bloke who does a lame joke about the film THE KRAYS. But they are powerless despite an eye-witness (Lysette Anthony as a nostalgic idiot) putting the villains at the scene of the crime at the time of the crime.

    So Ian Ogilvy returns to avenge his brother’s most cruel and unnatural murder, and teams up with his old firm: James Cosmo (character trait: mad), The Bill’s Chris Ellison (character trait: sardonic) and Tony Denham (character trait: butcher). With the help of the internet (a tool seemingly beyond the comprehension of the police) they quickly find the criminals on a ‘dark website’ and set about picking them off one by one, and in the ‘old way’. This means they stick power-tools into anyone who is unhelpful. Fortunately their detective skills are really good and they only torture bad guys. It all ends with a jolly shoot-out in a deserted hospital.

    WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY isn’t the first film to use a rape as a motor for the plot. But it is one of the clumsiest. And that clumsiness exposes the film’s cynicism and poor construction. In the rape scene itself it’s as if the film-makers want to make it as un-unsettling as possible, almost as if the director’s saying, ‘yes there’s a rape going on but we don’t want to worry about that nasty stuff too much, oh look: Steven Berkoff!’ Even worse than the film trying to make the rape itself look ‘not too bad’ is the subsequent treatment of the character. If you only watched her post-rape scenes you’d think that the worst that had happened was that her pet hamster had escaped. She seems mildly unhappy rather than horrifically violated.

    Irritatingly, the film does score a few points. It follows the simple and attractive formula of revenge fantasy: bad person A does something bad; good people do nothing; bad person B does bad stuff to bad person A. This formula rarely fails, particularly when (a) bad person A is portrayed as a total idiot and played by someone not up to the job (i.e. Danny Dyer’s TV son Danny-Boy Hatchard who is about as threatening as Danny Dyer’s daughter Danni Dyer’s non-existent lost hamster) and (b) bad person B is played by Ian Ogilvy with the sort of charisma and loucheness that only comes when you’ve got a CV that includes Witchfinder-General and Murder She Wrote. Ogilvy and chums give us a violent antithesis to popular TV show New Tricks (I’m not surprised to see a bank-caper sequel is a twinkle in the producer’s eye). There’s nothing clever or interesting here, but you do get some old blokes beating up some young ones, so that’s all right. This is gleefully reactionary anti-youth nonsense, replete with racism, misogyny, misanthropy, homophobia and who knows what else, but that goes with the territory. It’s meant to be a jolly romp, just one with an utterly baffling and stupid approach to rape and a curious belief that it’s OK for old white codgers to gang up and go around blackmailing, torturing and murdering, but really bad if a multi-racial group of young men do the same.

    I’d like to think that many of the film’s many deficiencies are deliberate. The lack of staff and patients in the climactic hospital-based shoot-out may be a comment on the current government’s disastrous NHS policies. Or maybe the film-makers just didn’t want our ‘good’ bad guys to kill any nurses. Maybe the bit where Dyer and her mum have a chat is meant to be a bitterly angry comment on the generation divide and the impotence of the police. Maybe the scene where Dyer has a milkshake with the nice gang-member who managed to not rape her (though he probably would have had Berkoff not stumbled along) is actually a recognition that rape-victims do indeed have no choice but to get on with life despite their ordeal and their captors’ getting away with it. Maybe the bit where Ogilvy threatens the girl is really meant to be him being nice. Maybe we’re meant to take Lysette Anthony’s nostalgia (‘it was so much better in the old days when pretty Ian Ogilvy was murdering and raping than these days when it’s all foreigners’) as being dumb, rather than the moral of the film. And maybe the bit where someone’s arm is severed and then a moment later someone says ‘give me a hand’ is meant to be a James Bond-quip, rather than just clumsy editing. But somehow I doubt it. The film is watchable enough for Ogilvy and its simplistic attitudes to conflict resolution, but it fails abysmally as credible drama.

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