FOOTSOLDIER aka SURVIVAL INSTINCT

1 out of 10

Release Date: 13th June 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Steve Lawson (Hellriser / Essex Heist / The Haunting of Annie Dyer Killer/Saurus / The Silencer)

Cast: Helen Crevel, Anthony Coughlan, Jay Sutherland, Sam Smith with Isabella Nash and Glenn Salvage (voice)

Writer: Steve Lawson

Trailer: FOOTSOLDIER

Footsoldier-Poster-150x200

Oh lord. This is a disaster in every respect. The hardworking but underpowered director Steve Lawson delivers another cheapo for about the same price you’d spend on a can of baked beans. Footsoldier suffers from terrible acting, a very bad script and a very daft plot.

Hunter and ex jailbird, Weaver (ANTHONY COUGHLAN) takes his young son, Rex (SAM SMITH) on a rites of passage trip to the woods to hunt deer. The father tells the son a very basic version of how tribes would send their young out on a solo hunt. After refusing to shoot a doe ‘like the song, son!’, Rex accidentally shoots Helen Crevel’s (Killer/Saurus) potential boyfriend, who happen to have broken down nearby.  Weaver doesn’t want to go to jail so he goes about trying to kill the survivor too.

Moving at the speed of slugs up a ladder, Footsoldier is doomed to bore not thrill. Actions are telegraphed. ‘Hunters track their prey’s scent you know.’… Next minute Weaver is sniffing the air really loudly, as our heroine is spraying the trees with her perfume. Every line is delivered with a sigh and a clunk. Nobody speaks like Steve Lawson‘s characters, not even in films. The cat and mouse template only makes you think ‘come on! just do somthing.’ but the characters just plod along stringing us along, but this film will only fool the most stupid amongst us as it has no brevity, no lightness of touch or wit. It make be technically sound in that its shots seem to have been set up with some thought but the acting is atrocious all around, even Glenn Salvage (he of the ponytail and cool action flick The Silencer) drops a clanger in a dopey voice only cringe-clanger. You will have seen better acting in a primary school nativity play and that’s being kind. Both the leads would easily be outclassed.

Dreadful in every manner. Director Steve Lawson seems to be sliding backwards. Next up is micro-horror The Haunting of Danny Dyer! Sounds great.

1 out of 10Footsoldier is about as thrilling as comparing brands of tampons with a feminist, underwater. This makes his debut The Silencer look like a Kubrick-made masterpiece.

Second review below by Matt Usher

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

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One thought on “FOOTSOLDIER aka SURVIVAL INSTINCT

  1. Review by Matt ‘footrot’ Usher

    When I was about eight, school playtime meant one thing: re-enacting Star Wars, Action Force and even Blake’s 7 stories (recast with Star Wars characters). There were a few of us taking part and although our efforts eventually made their way to the dizzying heights of the end of year show, we were under no illusion that we were creating anything other than entertainment for ourselves.

    Which reminds me of the oeuvre of Steve Lawson (not the Steve Lawson who masterminded the execrable DEAD CERT and the weirdly likeable yet dire JUST FOR THE RECORD but the Steve Lawson who masterminded the weirdly likeable yet dire THE SILENCER and the execrable KILLERSAURUS). Mr Lawson clearly loves the movies, and this love has inspired him. And that’s a reason to admire him: he could have just channelled that love into a simple film-reviewing website, enshrining his opinions for generations to come; but instead he decided to stick his neck out and add to the canon of available cinematic material. He is an amateur in both the best and worst senses: (a) making films for the love of making them, ignoring and surmounting obstacles through sheer belief (witness the glove puppet dinosaur in KILLERSAURUS), but (b) his actual achievements are on the lamentable side (witness the glove puppet dinosaur in KILLERSAURUS).

    And so to FOOTSOLDIER, which also masquerades as SURVIVAL INSTINCT and RITES OF PASSAGE. Taken together these titles may suggest an early 90s late-night violent straight-to-video sort of film with Harry Hamlin and Sean Young; an outdoorsy film with minimal plot, few thrills and a budget which was spent off-screen if it existed at all. And that’s not far from the truth, but instead of some American semi-wilderness we get what looks like quite a nice country park.

    The ‘Footsoldier’ of the title (well, of one of the titles) is an unhappy gentleman worried his son is gay because he watches too much BBC television (that’s the best line in the film by the way). Our tough guy (Andrew Coughlan, playing a character called Weaver – named presumably after the star of Gentle Ben) is clearly meant to be a model of modern-day British machismo (so a cross between Jeremys Clarkson, Vine, Kyle, Corbyn and Hunt). He’s in the woods attempting to bond with his unmanly son by showing him how to shoot deer – but only small deer because they’re not too heavy (I’m not making this up).

    Meanwhile Helen Crevel (who’s like a children’s TV presenter cast adrift in a video nasty) is dashing across the country to get to a wedding where she is set to perform using a priceless antique violin which she prizes (as we later discover) above the life of the man who’s acting as her chauffeur. He’s in love with her but is sensitive (he therefore wears glasses and has the letter H shoved pretentiously into his name which would otherwise be Tom) and says nothing of his burning ardour. He’s also rubbish at cars, and the car breaks down (cue audio-only intervention from THE SILENCER himself, Glenn Salvage, doing a bad and pointless Ray Winstone impersonation) and he lets his would-be girlfriend slowly potter off to the nearest petrol station. Meanwhile, after a good day’s slaughtering light livestock, Weaver

    and son accidentally shoot the sensitive young man (maybe they thought he was a deer – he has a dumb innocence about him). Realising his mistake Weaver decides to go after the violinist as well, presumably because she’s even lighter. There follows a ludicrously enjoyable (in a bad way) yomp through some pretty woods as our valiant fiddler tries to get water for the car and save her precious violin. And find out what happened to Thom.

    This cat and mouse game of chess appears to take place in an absurdly small area, with the same stretch of road re-used frequently like a Scooby-Doo background. There’s a sequence involving a false trail of perfume which is a wonder to behold – even a CBBC drama would have avoided such an unsophisticated cliché. Meanwhile there’s a significant subplot over whether our heroine can fill a bottle of water without being caught. And the violin takes on almost co-star proportions as our heroine risks life and limb (and not just her own) to save it. Indeed, the violin is responsible for the film’s only jump moment when it unexpectedly … falls out of a car. The finale takes place in a huge warehouse which appears to be inside a small semi-detached house, though it’s difficult to see anything as something has gone awry with the screen resolution / saturation / technical stuff I don’t understand. But then again, nor did the cinematographer.

    FOOTSOLDIER is enjoyably terrible, the sort of film where people run and stumble very slowly, and huff with mild irritation when they’re facing life-threatening peril. Every scene, every line, every character development is signposted from afar. There are clearly defined characters, but they’re as blunt as marker pens: a ditzy heroine (and she is a heroine and definitely not a female hero) with her own less than impressive skill set, her devoted male friend whose only trait is that he’s holding a candle for her. Weaver is larded with backstory and psychology, all of it cheerfully nonsensical, and is played by an actor aiming for Brian Blessed at full tilt, but getting as far as Brian Glover as the voice of Tetley Tea. And there’s his too sensitive son (Rex!) who will certainly be the turning worm at the appropriate time (not a spoiler – if you haven’t worked it out by the end of their first scene then you shouldn’t be watching films).

    Ludicrous nonsense without a shred of professionalism perhaps, FOOTSOLDIER is preferable to anything in the Essex hooligan genre, which, despite the title, it has no relation to. Though that does make me wonder how Mr Lawson would approach that particular genre. No! Stop! Forget I said it! Back to the playground with you Steve! Aaarrgghhh!

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