3 out of 10

Release Date: 26th January 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Gary Sinyor (In Your Dreams / The Bachelor / Stiff Upper Lips / Solitaire For 2 / Leon The Pig Farmer)

Cast: Jack Donnelly, Jonathan Broke, Ryan Pope, James Rastall, Matthew Avery, Robert Portal, Dana Haqjoo and Anouska Mond

Writer: Gary Sinyor


Review by Matt Usher below



7.5 out of 10

Release Date: 14th March 2014

Director: Jonathan Glazer (Birth / Sexy Beast)

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Michael Moreland, Scott Dymond, Joe Szula, Krystof Hadek and Paul Brannigan

Writer: Walter Campbell / Michel Faber




  • Scarlett Johansson: Avengers Assemble 2, Lucy (2014), Chef, Captain America 2, Her (voice), Don Jon, Hitchcock, Avengers Assemble, We Bought a Zoo, Iron Man 2, He’s Just Not That Into You, The Spirit, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Nanny Diaries, The Prestige, Black Dahlia, Scoop, The Island (2005), Match Point, In Good Company, A Good Woman, The Perfect Score, Girl With The Pearl Earring, Lost In Translation, Eight Legged Freaks, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Ghost World, Home Alone 3, The Horse Whisperer, North
  • Joe Szula: Neds
  • Paul Brannigan: Scottish Mussel, Beyond, Sunshine On Leith, The Angel’s Share


3.5 out of 10

Release Date: 18th May 2009 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Chee Keong Cheung (Bodyguard- A New Beginning)

Cast: Mark Strange, Fidel Nanton, Leonard Fenton, Nathan Lewis, Joey Ansah, Zara Phythian, Dave Wong, Sophie Linfield, Leon Sua, Liang Yang, Glenn Salvage, Beau Fowler, Shane Steyn, William Mickleburgh, Scott Houston, Chris Smith with Gordon Alexander, Gary Webster and Danny John-Jules

Writer: Chee Keong Cheung


images-1Underground gets one thing right, excellent fight choreography. And that’s exactly why this film exists, it’s a fight film. Fans of mixed martial arts will have the fights on rewind and the talking on fast forward. This is your standard Bloodsport retread, twelve cardboard cutouts battle for a cash prize whilst a cartel adjudicate and raise the stakes for some very rich business men who are watching remotely. Obviously, only one of the 12 will be going home with the money – several of which are professional fighters but some are there because they are desperate for the money to get them out of deep hole (zzzz what were you saying? There’s a plot?).

A film of two halves, all the heavy stunt work is done downstairs on the shop floor and all the acting is done upstairs in the office. Neither world troubles the other one until nearer the end. So whilst the 12 stuntmen- cum part time actors duke it out for first place, the real actors bitch and posture trying to out deal each other by pitting their best fighter against another rich opponent’s fighter. It’s a loaded dice as each rich guy is given two fighters at the beginning, so if they have a weak guy that’s set in stone – ill thought out rules. But hey, not my money. Amongst the business men are TV stalwarts Gary Webster (MINDER), Danny John-Jules (RED DWARF) and for all those wondering where Dr. Legg was all those weeks between his appearances in Eastenders, Leonard Fenton (THE ZOMBIE DIARIES) and they do the only lifting required in the acting department (stunt work equivalent for the lunks downstairs). Downstairs the only two with real acting credentials are the wooden Zara Phythian (HE WHO DARES) and the slightly more talented Joey Ansah (GREEN STREET 3) but neither of them get to be the hero (SPOILER!). No the hero is stuntman Mark Strange who plays The Homeless. I almost forgot, to make the cardboard characters extra stiff, none of them have names: instead we get The Model, The Teacher, The Priest, The Foreigner etc. Very boring. Not much seems to be at stake for any of them apart from getting their asses beat, most of the  characters get to go home with a ‘blankety blank cheque book and pen’ too. The reason for a movie like this is that usually the tournament that is centre to the tale is usually a stand out bout in which characters buck the trend or wreck proceedings for future years, but in  Underground it seems like they picked a ‘filler’ year. There’s one winner and eleven losers – wow! It just seems to be business as usual.  There might be a sequel but the stakes are too low for this to engage to invest in any of the fighters. The closest thing we get to a protagonist is Leonard Fenton and later Mark Strange (who also produces – surprise surprise!) once the field thins out – maybe it’s being experimental. A flick with no characters. The whole film has a remarkably stripped down feel, it wishes it was sleek but that will come with larger budgets.

The filmmakers certainly know how to shoot a fight and cast talented fighters. To say it’s for people with low attention spans is an insult to the work that’s gone into framing these wonderful fight scenes, so fans of fighting could do a lot worse than tune in. But like I said, fast forward the slim traces of story line just like you would if you were watching a porno – in fact Underground is the absolute polar opposite of an art house movie. Red Dwarf fans get in line for a good Danny John Jules role too. He has much fun as the closest this film has to an antagonist. It’s weird how this is the only film I’ve ever rated him in!

3.5 out of 10 – Action fans only. This is a pure action film almost to the point of pushing the need for individual characters out of the film completely. Stunning fight work save this bargain basement tribute to Bloodsport or Kick Boxer from being a total loss but it’s not for everybody! But then nor is Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Second review below by Matt CRUSHER Usher 



1 out of 10

Release Date: 28th September 2009 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Xavier Leret 

Cast: Mat Fraser, Frank Harper, Helen Watkins, Faye Tozer, Dan Poole, Adam Saint, Forbes KB, Beau Baptist with Ewan Ross and Terry Stone

Writer: Xavier Leret



Just like Dr. Dre publicly refusing to admit his involvement in the World Class Wreckin’ Cru’ before he joined NWA, pretty much everybody involved in, produced Jonathan Sothcott included,  Unarmed and Dangerous probably goes into a similarly embarrassed frenzy of denial whenever this film’s brought up. But here it is. Previously entitled Kung Fu Flid the movie is still widely available from all the usual sales portals to haunt everybody that thought they had shook this abortion off. Unarmed and Dangerous is a horrendous comedy bypass  that ends up sat on the top of ‘bad taste’ mountain and you’ll never see a bigger divide between what an audience wants and what a filmmaker/entertainer thinks you want. The only thing Unarmed and Dangerous has going for it was the idea to change the original title into something anonymous and generic – that way it may get missed amongst all the Jeff Wincott and Thomas Ian Griffith actioners the title reminds me of (or worse – picked up by accident!) Even its attempts at being a tribute to Blacksploitation movies of the late 60s and 70s are weak and may even be incidental.

Polymath Mat Fraser (INBRED) has turned his talents to acting, music, stand up comedy, public speaker and dance. He’s a beacon of ‘can-do’ for disabled people having excelled in many fields. Born with no lower arms and limited use of his hands he has carved a niche as an important spokesman for the disabled minority in the UK. Fraser himself describes Unarmed and Dangerous as a ‘criptsploitation’ movie and I’d be inclined to agree that this is an accurate description of what could be a legit genre – however this film is so bad, there’s no sign of wit, good writing, good performances or any reason to watch this.  Being a genre first doesn’t earn it enough good will. Mat Fraser is a good actor but despite all his misguided attempts to give a committed performance, he’s defeated by the sheer lack of quality across the board.

The plot is a simple revenge – seek and destroy plot – where Jimmy Loveit (MAT FRASER) faces off against Mr Big (FRANK HARPER – VICTIM) who kidnaps his daughter and wife after breaking into the wrong house. Also Mr Big’s son gets his balls shot off by Jimmy. So a balancing of the scales is needed.  Jimmy Loveit is not afraid as he is a kick-boxing menace with his own Rocky-style trainer (TERRY STONE – GET LUCKY). Will he beat the clock and save his family?

Several good action set pieces are ruined by bad choreography and terrible editing ensuring that any chances of this shit getting redeemed by some cool fights are quickly nixed. The tone is uneven as well. One moment we’re enduring a very, very long and unflinching torture scene  featuring some very slow and painful deaths then we’re watching a comedy death in which  a character gets acid tipped on their head  and melts cartoon style.  Elsewhere Mat Fraser is doing Tyrannosaurus Rex impressions half way through what seems to be a David Lynch tribute act – the next somebody is having their bullet holes probed with dirty fingers?  The whole thing  is a mess. And it should rightfully be buried beneath a mile of the stinkiest manure and landfill.  Un-PC issues in comedy need to be tackled by people with an ear for humour, intelligence and an ability to write good dialogue, and although everybody that was involved in this movie was in on the joke (what joke?), it ends up being an alienating and embarrassing, mess best avoided by your man on the street. Unarmed and Dangerous reeks of a private joke that should never have been shown to the public at large. Mat Fraser and co should have abandoned this at the post pub revelation stage. I’m not offended by a film calling itself ‘criptsploitation’, I’m just  put out by filmmakers thinking that this could ever have been a good idea in the first place.

1 out of 10 – A cheap and horrible attempt to launch Mat Fraser as an action star, but it falls into a lack-lustre bad taste comedy one minute and a blood soaked shocker the next.  Lumbering, slow, tired and a career worst for most people involved. When a movie is livened up by movie rent-a-plank, Ewan Ross (FALL OF THE ESSEX BOYS) you know you’ve got problems. Movie cholera. Avoid. A big UN-Thank you to everybody who made this.

Another terrible review below by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher



3 out of 10

Release date: 9th February 2007 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Sol Papadopoulos

Cast: Andrew Schofield, Lenny Wood, Lisa Parry, Kate Fitzgerald, Lauren Steele, Dave Hart, Laura Hoey, Mick Colligan and James McMartin

Writers: Sophia Barlow, David Catterall, Mick Colligan, Howard Davies, David Dearden, Dave Hart, Ged Hunter, Graham Mullen, Leah Pritchard, Ana Ribiro, Natalie Southern, Toni-Ann Stevenson, Tanya Taylor, Lenny Wood



TO BE PROOFREAD: The producers of Under The Mud teamed up with the young people of Garston, Liverpool to make this community led project. Such a noble quest to give the public at large a chance to exercise their talents – so it’s a shame to report that Under The Mud is little more than a scrappy jape. It’s not a serious film and it pretty much highlights the main differences between what a ‘real’ film is and what an am-dram community effort is. I’m not being disparaging about community projects, just about everybody I know has been involved at some stage and they are fine hobbies. A select few will have the opportunity to push beyond the barriers of the neighbourhood into the industry and these types of projects are were tomorrow’s stars discover and hone their talents. As not everybody can afford to get an endorsed education at RADA or LAMDA, this is the closest many will get. Under the Mud is directed by Sol Papadopoulos who is an estblished Liverpool producer having rescued Terence Davies from obscurity by producing the amazing documentary / love poem Of Time and The City. The man knows quality – so why he’s soft pedalled the need to demonstrate his familiarity with such fare is a mystery. My guess is that he’s given free reign to his actors and his team of about 20 young writers.

Under The Mud tells the story of the Potts family led by the unmarried Dad (ANDREW SCHOFIELD – LIAM) and Mum (LISA PARRY – DEAD MAN’S CARD). There are about five kids (I lost count) and Magic (LENNY WOOD), a orphan taken in by the family. The story is told by Magic about the day of the youngest child Olivia’s Holy Communion. At the evening celebrations, an old family foe One Dig (JAMES McMARTIN – DANCIN’ THRU THE DARK) turns up to settle some old scores after years in jail. It turns out he also owns the social club where the party is being held, Magic loves Paula (LAUREN STEELE) with the invisible friend and a baby to local prick superstar DJ Worm (MICK COLLIGAN), the car obsessed younger son steals One Dig’s car, Mum and Dad break up big time and so on…

Under The Mud is certainly packed with event but it’s the dialogue and some of the unsure performances that let the side down. Some terrible sound (and no subtitles to aid this) also compounded the problem. The story goes for quirky but just comes across as flat. The usual verve and quick witted humour usually associated with Liverpudlian comedies is largely absent. Earlier this year (2013), Spike Island briefly brought back the ghost of Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale in the exchanges between the Mancs and the Scousers and it was very funny. There’s not a lot to laugh at in Under The Mud as it’s largely cliched and charmless. A handful of the lead actors have been haunting Liverpool film and TV for decades and have been way better in most cases. It’s not the worst film I’ve seen from Merseyside – that could be Dead Man’s Shoes (off the top of my head) but it’s nowhere near the best.

3 out of 10 -The intentions were good but this will test the patients of anyone, most of all scousers. Only highly charitable liberals will put the initiative and project ahead of the quality of the actual film. Its a shame the finished product didn’t live up to the hype or the commitment. I wish the makers had thought to be stricter on the quality control when making this tepid re-run of Shameless. It’s got the verve of Bula Quo! and less  wit of one of Ken Dodd‘s socks.


  • Andrew Schofield: The Last Ferry, Dead Man’s Cards, Revengers Tragedy, Liam, GBH (TV), Distant Voices Still Lives, Sid and Nancy, No Surrender, Scully (TV)
  • Lisa Parry: Dead Man’s Cards
  • Kate Fitzgerald: The Bill (TV), Brookside (TV)
  • James McMartin: Dead Man’s Cards, Revengers Tragedy, My Kingdom, Going Off Big Time, Dancin’ Thru The Dark



Release Date: 25th June 2013

Director: Andrew Douglas (The Amityville Horror (2005))

Cast: Jamie Blackley, Toby Regbo, Joanne Froggatt, Liz White, Mark Womack, Louise Delamere, Amy Wren with Stephanie Leonidas and Jaime Winstone

Writer: Mike Walden





2.5 out of 10

Release Date: 17th October 2011 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Drew Cullingham

Cast: Doug Bradley, Rita Ramnani, Jonnie Hurn, Natalia Celino, James Fisher, Grace Vallorani, Scott North and AJ Williams

Writer: Drew Cullingham

Trailer: UMBRAGE


Umbrage start has an extremely strong opening.  The prologue featuring an ambush in a cowboy town by Irish cowboy, Phelan (JOHNNIE HURN – THE ZOMBIE DIARIES) that contains a brilliant set, fluid camera movements, excellent mood and atmosphere and nice physical performances.  It sets its stall out admirably and I really thought I was in for a treat. So the first three minutes aside, Umbrage falls catastrophically from grace as soon as any of the characters begin to speak.  The dialogue and knock-on effect to the plot are diabolical. Only horror veteran, Doug Bradley (TEN DEAD MEN) and Johnnie Hurn put in halfway good and committed performances, everybody else, is uniformly terrible. Yes, even the usually reliable Rita Ramnani (JACK FALLS) is left flailing with crap lines and a truly unsympathetic lead role.

After the initial set-up, showing how Phelan becomes a Vampire, we are brought up to modern day, rural Surrey, England.  Doug Bradley, his heavily pregnant new wife Lauren (GRACE VALLORANI – HE WHO DARES) and his step daughter, Rachel (Rita Ramnani) arrive at their new cottage. Meanwhile, terrible actors are camping nearby and they come into tragic contact with Lilith (NATALIA CELINO – DERANGED) as the world’s first vampire (she could even be Eve from the Bible).  One of the bad actors gets his dick bitten off, but the other talentless burk gets to hang around for much longer.  The survivors convene on Doug Bradley‘s cottage. This is when the film thunders to a monumental halt.  Killer shadows and the re-appearance of Phelan, via a spooky mirror promise to liven up proceedings but alas this is just boring and clunky.

The main plus (apart from the brilliant intro) is that the jacket designers of the DVD did not employ a proof reader. On the box it says that Umbrage has a running time of 2.5 hours long. Luckily it’s actually 1.5 hours long. It felt like it was on all afternoon though. I felt sorry for Doug Bradley, who actually leaves the cast standing with one of his largest and best roles in a while. He actually gets to play a real person and not Cenobite or a demon. As good an actor as he is, even he can’t make the dialogue ring true. Johnnie Hurn as the “good” vampire and possible saviour also puts in a decent performance.  Umbrage, however, is yet another example of how a decent concept has been nobbled by bad acting and a terrible script. Considering the time and effort that went into the prologue, it shows that the team behind this had the resources and ability to set up a convincing and decent scenario. Maybe future projects will see their budget expand to include talented actors and somebody with a good ear for dialogue.

2.5 out of 10 – Not the worst UK vampire flick of recent years, but this is yet another example of boring, badly acted and written horror that is rapidly filling our landfill sites or the dusty, crusty, BO scented shelves at Cex.

Review by Joe Pesci II below>>!> Oh oh!