0.5 out of 10
Release Date: 13th April 2015 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Steven M Smith (Haunted 5 / Haunted 4 / Haunted 3 / Haunted 2 / Borstal / Invasion Earth / I Am Hooligan / Essex Boys – Laws of Survival / Haunted (2013)) and Chris Bell
Cast: Chris Bell, Alan Lund, Ross Boatman, Sam Brown, Danny Howard, Colin Burt Vidler, Pat Garner, Jon-Paul Gates, Dean Martins and Eddie Webber (narrator)
Writer: Chris Bell & Steven M Smith
Hooligans At War is probably the sloppiest and most amateur entry into the cannon of UK gangster movies I’m yet to see. Underpowered and embarrassingly slack, it attempts to come at the genre from a new perspective but beyond making a lazy comparison between the violent lives of British soldiers and football hooligans it fails on all fronts. The film falls into just about every trap that low budget filmmakers are prone to drop into. Productions this cheap often require the producers and directors to double up as actors – whether through vanity or necessity this route rarely proves to be successful. Acting is a tough and pressured gig, so to be torn between making your dream film in the two weeks you’ve managed to get off from your day job, putting in a dynamic performance and ensuring everything else on your sprawling epic runs smoothly, it’s a real miracle if your end product will end up half watchable. The scale of Hooligans At War is pretty wide and ambitious considering the level of resources the makers had at their disposal, so from the ‘off’ they’ve bitten off a lot more than their miserable gobs can chew. The story flits between flashbacks in the theatre of war (or a field near Dagenham) and the present day where ex-soldiers Northy (CHRIS BELL) and Southy (ALAN LUND) resume their places (with little opposition) as top dogs of their respective football / crime firms of north and south London. A particular heist tears the two comrades apart to little effect. And the bodies pile up (slowly).
The movie trundles from one badly-acted scene to the next with little rhyme or reason – the plot is straight-forward but it still manages to get crucial aspects wrong. The use of a typed introduction to every single last location is a major irritation, as we wait for each letter to be keyed in – this also occurs with locations that the story has previously visited at least six times. Also pity poor Eddie Webber (THE FIRM) who does his best Alan Ford impression as an unseen narrator who introduces a procession of minor characters who only feature long enough to be introduced. Someone somewhere thought that this addition would be funny and act as a decent story aid, it wasn’t. It’s pointless and embarrassing to watch. Everyone involved, even the professionals like Ross Boatman (LONDON’S BURNING) and the aforementioned Eddie Webber should have ran the opposite direction when the script landed on their desk. It’s truly bad. The poster / DVD cover art is about as professional as the whole affair ever gets. If the cover had been drawn in crayons that would have given you a better idea of the quality to expect.
Hooligans At War even makes Looters Shooters and Sawn-Off Shooters look like a deluxe and professional production. With a really basic plot (just terrible) , a very abrupt, laughably corny and shit ending we have the worst UK Hooligan / Gangster movie to grace the UK film industry to date. Britpic hopes that actor / director Chris Bell spent all his money on this turd as it may well stop him from commiting anymore crimes against film lovers. The notorious and infamous actor/producer Simon Phillips (JESUS VS MESSIAH) is one of the producers on this I see. We think he got credit for letting them use one of his favourite words in the title ‘Hooligan’. The makers couldn’t afford to use the words ‘rise’ or ‘fall’.
0.5 out of 10 – Truly abysmal in every way. It’s scary how amateurish a film can be and still get a national DVD release. Vanity projects have never been made to look so bad.
ed’s note: Some months later Britpic discovers that these guys have made yet another Landrover / Essex Boys movie called Essex Boys: Law of Survival. Next we’ve got Essex Boys: Return on Investment (ROI)….
Trailer: HOOLIGANS AT WAR
Now check out Joe Pesci II’s opinion of Hooligans At War – where he invents the term ‘Hooligangster‘ – see below.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Chris Bell: Haunted 4, Haunted 3, Haunted 2, Knights of the Damned, Simon, Robert 2, I Am Hooligan, Essex Boys – Laws of Survival
- Ross Boatman: Essex Boys – Laws of Survival, Sex & Drugs & Rock-N-Roll, Hardmen, London’s Burning (TV)
- Danny Howard: Haunted 3, Haunted 2, Bonded By Blood 2, Blood Feud, Essex Boys – Laws of Survival
- Dean Martins: Simon, Essex Boys – Laws of Survival
- Jon-Paul Gates: Haunted 4, Haunted 3, Haunted 2, Gridiron UK, Borstal, Invasion Earth, I Am Hooligan, Kicking Off, Haunted (2013)
- Eddie Webber: Rise of the Footsoldier 3, London Heist, Essex Vendetta, Assassin (2015), Devil’s Tower, Svengali, Fall Of The Essex Boys, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, The Firm (2009), Shifty, Cass, Freebird, The Business