5 out of 10

Release Date: 9th January 2017 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Greg Hall (Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan)

Cast: George Russo, Sam Strike, Josh Myers, Johnny Palmiero, Casey Batchelor, Dani Dyer, Martin Delaney, Naomi Willow, Tony Denham, Perry Warner, Kirk Norcross, Tracy Kirby, Jerry Anderson, Scott Wickes, Johnny Sachon, Danny Howard with Mark Cooper Harris, Terry Stone and Chris Ellison

Writer: Simon Cluett



Here it is. The dramatisation of Bernard O’Mahoney’s documentary and book, Essex Boys – The Truth making it the first to lionise the next generation of crims. Hanging around on the shelf for over 12 months Bonded By Blood 2 is finally out. The first one told the same story as the last half of the original Rise of the Footsoldier about the now legendary but no less boring Landrover Murders, in which drug dealers and gangsters Tony Tucker, Craig Rolfe and Pat Tate all met with a grisly end. This one tells a slightly more interesting but equally seedy tale of Essex crims called Dean Boshell (SAM STRIKE – EASTENDERS), Damo Alvin (GEORGE RUSSO – TONY), Ricky Percival (JOSH MYERS – FALL OF THE KRAYS) and Malcolm Walsh (MARTIN DELANEY – NOW YOU SEE ME 2). Boshell falls under Alvin’s protection in jail but proves to be a low-level acolyte on joining the gang when they graduate to the outside world. Ricky Percival is the hot head leader, and Alvin is the more scheming of the two. So whilst Percival is out there building an empire with an old enemy, Alvin is plotting and using Boshell to do his dirty work. The cops find the weak link and use Boshell as an informant and so it plays out with double-cross after double-cross.

Bonded By Blood 2 is the next in a long line of films about Essex criminals and it’s a healthy sub-genre of the independent British film market. With Rise of the Footsoldier 3, Essex Heist, Barbie Dolls Gangsters of Upminster all awaiting a release, there seems to be no sign to this revenue stream running its course. Seems all you have to do is say ‘c*nt’ a lot, and get yourself some ex-players from London’s Burning or The Bill to show up and et voila you have your movie. Bonded By Blood 2 even has some reality TV stars in the mix too from the likes of The Only Way Is Essex and Celebrity Big Brother... Oh oh. Pretty much all the cast do a good job however, and nobody makes a fool out of themselves. The film’s main problem is that it fails to distinguish itself from its rivals like the Rise of the Footsoldier series and one or two other contenders. The ‘fictional’ framing device where Johnny Palmiero’s (EAT LOCAL) Bernard O’Mahoney meets Mr X (a ripe Mark Cooper Harris (PRETTY BOY)) who sells him the story of Boshell and Alvin, is troublesome. It’s almost comic compared to the rest of the film which has the look and feel of an episode of Brookside. Produced by the notorious Jonathan Sothcott, I can say that this is one of his best films to date, but not a patch on Vendetta. This is around the Top Dog mark, but streets ahead of We Still Kill The Old Way and way above his last turd, Age of Kill.  Director Greg Hall does another competent job after his debut Dangerous Mind of a Hooligan. Terry Stone (RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER 3) reprises his role in flashbacks at Tony Tucker but his inclusion amounts to little and impacts the central narrative in no way. It’s just another sales hook and way to tie this sequel into the first one.

5 out of 10 – So whilst it’s solid and largely helped by an impressive cast doing what they enjoy and do best – shout and say c*nt a lot – it does what you expect, nothing more nothing less.



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