3.5 out of 10
Release date: 17th July 2017 (DVD premiere)
Director: Mark McQueen (Devil’s Playground)
Cast: Craig Fairbrass, James Cosmo, Nathalie Cox, Mem Ferda, Roland Manookian, Tony Denham, Eddie Webber, George Russo, Katie Clarkson-Hill, Frankie Fairbrass, Eileen Nicholas, with Nick Moran and Steven Berkoff
Writer: Craig Fairbrass and Chris Regan
Trailer: LONDON HEIST
Most films like London Heist follow a fairly uniform plot outline – the heist, the double-cross, the kidnapped loved one, the rescue, the revenge. Craig Fairbrass’ (BULA QUO!) latest doesn’t deviate one iota from this template which is a shame because the director, Mark McQueen has vastly improved as a director since his debut Devil’s Playground, a movie where zombies could do parkour. What compounds the plot unoriginality is the lack of imagination when it came to casting it. James Cosmo (TRAINSPOTTING) plays his third devious mobster in a row, a virtually identical role to his hood in The Eliminators, and not much of a stretch from Breakdown (which London Heist strongly resembles too). It also features Tony Denham (THE FOOTBALL FACTORY), Eddie Webber (THE FIRM) and Mem Ferda (THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE) in roles they’ve all played 15 times before. How many times can we watch the same grizzled character actors play cops and robbers? Even Steven Berkoff (DECADENCE) turns up as the doomed gangster relative he did a minute ago in We Still Kill The Old Way. Except it looks like his scenes here have been cobbled together from out-takes as they are pretty incoherent within the rote story framework. Nice to see Roland Manookian (GOODBYE CHARLIE BRIGHT) after his long vacation though, in a boring supporting role. So what happens?
Criag Fairbrass plays bank robber supreme, Jack Creegan who’s just pulled off the last job with his gang. But sadly his Dad gets murdered and his money gets nicked by persons unknown. The trail leads Creegan to Marbella (why isn’t this called London Heist when most of it is set in Spain?). He meets up with his father’s old partner in crime. Etc, etc. It’s as if Craig Fairbrass who also co-wrote realised that the plot wasn’t complicated enough, so he throws in an Essex gangster homage to The Empire Strikes Back near the ending. Somehow, Fairbrass’ last film Breakdown seemed to work and gave him a bit of real acting to do and it was a nice change to see him shine in a role with a dose of sincerity. He strives for the same results here but the story and script this time trip him up. However, on the plus side, after all the mad cap running around and stupidity, the ending is well-shot, nicely scored and seems to be from a much better film. Meanwhile, we learn that lear jets can fly from Essex to the South of Spain faster than James Cosmo can search a two-storey villa. We also learn that lithe, fit young women can’t outrun really overweight gangsters as well, and security guards in Spain take ages to walk through a doorway into the next room. So funny editing and timescales aside, this deserved to be better. It wasn’t a rush job as it seemed to take two years to make, and the cinematography, score, action, stunts and fight choreography are all spot on and competent. It’s just feels so unloved and robbed of a single shred of originality.
3.5 out 10 – Competent if boring botched bank heist thriller that experiments with altering time-space-dimension through bad editing. Boring cast playing the same game with watered down results.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Craig Fairbrass: Rise of the Footsoldier 3, Breakdown (2016), The Hooligan Factory, Vikingdom, Bula Quo!, Get Lucky, Deranged, St. George’s Day, Devil’s Playground, Freight, Dead Cert, The Shouting Men, Just For The Record, The Bank Job, Rise Of The Foot Soldier, White Noise 2, Dark Days, Proteus, Beyond Bedlam, Cliffhanger, Eastenders (TV), Tucker’s Luck (TV)
- James Cosmo: The Ten Bells, Whiskey Galore (2017), Tomorrow (2017), Monochrome, Eliminators, Transpotting 2, Ben Hur (2016), Dark Signal, Project 12 – The Bunker, Breakdown (2016), The Legend of Barney Thompson, Estranged, The Christmas Candle, We Still Kill The Old Way, Citadel, Hammer Of The Gods, Get Lucky, Game Of Thrones (TV), Outcast, Donkeys, Half Light, The Chronicles Of Narnia – The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe, Troy, The Four Feathers (2002), Once Upon a Time In The Midlands, The Match, Babe 2 (voice), Emma (1996), Trainspotting, Braveheart, Stormy Monday, Highlander
- Nathalie Cox: Scar Tissue, Exam
- Mem Ferda: Smoking Guns, Gridiron UK, Eliminators, Hard Tide, Breakdown (2016), Miss You Already, Hyena, Plastic, Pusher (2012), Ill Manors, Legacy- Black Ops, The Devil’s Double, The Crew
- Roland Manookian: Once Upon a Time In London, Rise of the Footsoldier 3, Fanged Up, No Reason, GBH, The Rise and Fall Of The White Collar Hooligan, Piggy, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, Just For The Record, Dead Cert, Rise Of The Footsoldier, Rock-N-Rolla, Grow Your Own, The Business, The Football Factory, Goodbye Charlie Bright
- Tony Denham: We Still Die The Old Way, Missing In Greenwood, We Still Steal The Old Way, Bonded By Blood 2, Miss You Already, Age of Kill, The Guvnors, We Still Kill The Old Way, The Hooligan Factory, Essex Boys Retribution, Vendetta, White Collar Hooligan 2, Fall of the Essex Boys, St. George’s Day, Turnout, The Shouting Men, Revolver, The Football Factory
- Eddie Webber: Trendy, Essex Vendetta, 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
- George Russo: My Name Is Lenny, Bonded By Blood 2, Top Dog, I Am Soldier, Green Street 3, Turnout, Zebra Crossing, Tony
- Eileen Nicholas: Estranged, Trainspotting
- Nick Moran: Boogie Man, Accident Man, The Habit of Beauty, Terminal, Crow, Eat Local, My Name Is Lenny, Don’t Knock Twice, Age of Kill, Down Dog, Death (2014), St George’s Day, The Kid (2010) (dir), Goal 3, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Pt 1 & 2, Telstar (dir), The Baby Juice Express, Puritan, The Musketeer, Another Life, Rancid Aluminium, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
- Steven Berkoff: Fanged Up, North V South, Rise of the Footsoldier 2, We Still Kill The Old Way, Red 2, GBH, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (US), 44 Inch Chest, The Tourist, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, The Big I Am, Just For The Record, Dead Cert, Steal, Rancid Aluminium, Fair Game (1994), Decadence, The Krays, Beverly Hills Cop, McVicar, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange