3.5 out of 10
Release Date: 25th April 2016 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Matt Wilde
Cast: Warren Brown, Greg McHugh, Alistair Petrie, Danielle Bux, Bailey Patrick, Jon-Paul Gates, Robbie Savage, Mark Bright and Geoff Hurst
Writer: Robert Farquhar
Trailer: KICKING OFF
Kicking Off has a lot of energy. It has two central performances full of energy and a great supporting turn from Alistair Petrie (VENDETTA), so why does Kicking Off stink as a comedy? Most of all it’s written by a person who has no idea how footballers behave int he real world, so we’ve got cartoon characters who are dealt very ‘heavy’ plot cards like suicide attempts, extreme violence and relationship woes. So we have slapstick, cheeky chappies and then a massive dose of Christian dogma dropped into the mix.
Wigsy (WARREN BROWN – LUTHER) and Cliffy (GREG MCHUGH – MARVELLOUS) kidnap a football ref, Greaves (Petrie) after he disallows a crucial goal. The stupid, semi-psychotic, comic book hooligan Wigsy runs the whole gamut of eye popping, yelling football chants to an empty church, jumping into rivers, becoming a born again Christian and also wanting fame and fortune for being a kidnapper. Meanwhile Cliffy looks on but doesn’t have the smarts to save him or talk him out of his mission. Petrie is wonderful as the put upon hostage, who almost escapes by making them believe they’ll get to heaven if they free him.
It has more action, and energy than a dozen brit-pics and about the same number of good line, but it’s wildly erratic in tone making it hard to sympathise or understand where one minute we’re laughing at a stupid character only to see him kick the person who’s playing the joke on him half-to-death. The christian sermon half-way through is a bit much too, as its as if its been smuggled in in order to brainwash a few football fans who watched this because they thought it was a hooligan flick. Hence the DVD decoration, complete with St George flags. This is the 2nd hooligan film where the church has turned up at an inopportune moment – the other was Blood Feud. I wonder whether this is a Christian initiative in low-budget film making. “Forgive them for they know not what they do…” is one of Greaves lines and I think this extends to the filmmakers who tried to pack too much into what would have worked as a simple comedy but got to big for its boot too early on. Shame as the writer does show (at times) that he has a good ear for comic dialogue.
3.5 out of 10 – Potentially good football comedy that dispenses the funny stuff for a trip to church, and has some pretty odd subjects to deal with like suicide and a penchant for violence. Uneven.
Another review below by Matt Usher
- Warren Brown: Cargo, Genesis, Captain Webb, Luther (TV), Borrowed Time, Dead Set (TV)
- Greg McHugh: Fresh Meat (TV), Marvelous
- Alistair Petrie: Silent Hours, Star Wars – Rogue One, The Night Manager (TV), Victor Frankenstein, The Face Of An Angel, A Little Chaos, Vendetta, Rush (2013), Ashes, Devil’s Playground
- Danielle Bux: The Curse of Witching Tree, We Are The Freaks
- Jon-Paul Gates: Haunted 4, Haunted 3, Haunted 2, Invasion Earth, I Am Hooligan, Hooligans At War, Haunted (2013)
- Geoff Hurst: Payback Season