1.5 out of 10
Release Date: 9th May 2016 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Terry Lee Coker (Hatton Garden – The Heist)
Cast: Michael McKell, Kris Johnson, Danniella Westbrook, Eddie Webber, Lucinda Rhodes, Paul McCarthy, Sidney Livingstone, Molly Henderson, Matt Hookings, Johnny Sachon, Jimmy Roussounis, Tony (AG) Longhurst, John Altman, Dani Thompson with Joe Egan and Ian Burfield
Writer: Terry Lee Coker
Trailer: ESSEX VENDETTA
This film ends with a terrifying threat to the viewer. Over the closing credits you realise that lead actor Michael McKell (OUTPOST 3) is also a pop singer, and that the lyrics in the chorus go something like this, “And when the night falls, I come for youuuuu…” Oh my gosh. Not only does the star, co-writer and producer of this floppy gangster yarn have aspirations to gain a career in the film industry but he’s also got his eye on the pop charts. It’s megalomania at its most cringeworthy.
That said Michael McKell is a pretty good actor and luckily for Essex Vendetta, a few of his friends can act as well. Unfortunately, him and his director and co-writer Terry Lee Coker have served up one of the worst plotted (if you could say that) films I’ve seen since Hooligan Wars. The presence of some talent saves it from being fully DOA.
Essex Vendetta made no sense and there was no vendetta. Story twists happen from which characters recover in seconds. People commit suicide, get shot, stabbed only to turn up minutes later. There’s a a weird kidnapping at a funeral which everybody notices but no one reacts to. The main character’s father mercy kills his wife has a tiny fight with his son then it’s forgotten all about. The father’s suicide is handled in a majorly distasteful and cackhanded way. The inheritance is spent on a drug cache, also the main character borrows money from a local hood to open a tattoo parlour . This is also a place where drug deals are brokered and people die, but scenes pile up where the incident is half-realised and rushed through. It’s slap dash and largely nonsensical and if it was a photo it would be very blurred. The acting is competent but the script and story is a dead dog. It even seems like pages have been skipped out, lots of them.The Vauxhall-Carlton league of decent actors all run past the camera to say a few lines but it all generally amounts to yet another amateur gangster actor love-in retitled last minute from On a Prayer to Essex Vendetta so that it sells 3 more copies at Asda in Dagenham. Terry Lee Coker also wrote Hooligan Legacy which is streets better than this sorry heap of sh*t. Kris Johnson from this and Hooligan Legacy could be a new face to watch as he’s very good at the shifty geezer character. Other than him and some nice Malta locations this is about as close to watchable as Essex Bendover ever gets. Oh yeah and the weird Ennio Morricone-style score with a whistler on it is curiously catchy but played randomly over any old scene. Joyless.
1.5 out of 10 – A poor, poor effort to make a ‘crime pays’ opus but this was just hopeless. I even watched it twice to see if it made sense. It still doesn’t.
Review below by Matt ‘Yorkshire Pudding Vendetta’ Usher
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Michael McKell: Winter Ridge, Hatton Garden – The Heist, Death (2014), Outpost 3, Who Needs Enemies?, Doctors (TV), Emmerdale (TV), Freight, Essex Boys
- Kris Johnson: Undercover Hooligan, Hooligan Legacy, Who Needs Enemies?
- Danniella Westbrook: Mob Handed, Hollyoaks (TV), Eastenders (TV), Frank Stubbs (TV)
- Eddie Webber: London Heist, Hooligans At War (narrator), Assassin (2015), Devil’s Tower, Svengali, Fall Of The Essex Boys, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, The Firm (2009), Shifty, Cass, Freebird, The Business
- Lucinda Rhodes: No Reasons, K-Shop, Mob Handed
- Paul McCarty: Tucker’s Luck (TV), Grange Hill (TV)
- Sidney Livingstone: Hatton Garden – The Heist
- Johnny Sachon: Bonded By Blood 2
- Tony (AG) Longhurst: Hatton Garden – The Heist
- John Altman: Perfect Break, Eastenders (TV), Hell To Pay, To Die For (1994), Birth of the Beatles, Quadrophenia
- Dani Thompson: Rock Band vs Vampires, Nightmare on 34th Street, Carnivore, Serial Kaller
- Joe Egan: Gloves Off, I Am Soldier, Lords of London, The Magnificent Eleven, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, Freight, Killer Bitch
- Ian Burfield: Winter Ridge, Dark Channel, Hatton Garden – The Heist, The Selfish Giant, Mercenaries, The International, Eastenders (TV), Circus, London’s Burning (TV), The Krays