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Mr Holly on…Love,Honour and Obey (1999)


If Love, Honour and Obey was a shop on the high street, it would be a charity shop: retro CDs, cheap tracksuits and mugs are all on offer here on a shoestring budget .

This BBC-backed, British gangster flick sees Ray Winstone’s (Scum) North London criminal faction pitted against their Southern counterparts, headed by Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers). Coincidentally, this is the third Pertwee film we have reviewed, and we’d just like to emphasise the fact that we are in no way attracted to this man. Coming up next week – Equilibrium

Humourous from the offset, this tale of a turf war includes a varied British cast which portrays this cockney rivalry well. With much of the film’s hilarity coming from the crude dialogue between them, this film also incorporates karaoke as an unlikely, yet effective plot device. Although some of the musical scenes do tend to run on a little, the cast obviously had fun in the making of them. Other side plots accompany this gangland mock-up, including a wedding, erectile dysfunction, and a grudge match between Rhys Ifans (Hannibal Rising) and the courier-come-gangster Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting).

The film has a decent entertaining feel to it and after making Final Cut (1998) together the previous year, the repeat combination of Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley), Sadie Frost (Dracula) and Winstone make this a superior film to its predecessor. All the themes projected in this movie keep you interested from the start, from the plots to the dated cars,phones and clothes. Considering you would get more cash raiding a public payphone for the budget, Dominic Anciano and Ray Burdis have done well here.

The main drawback with this flick would have to be the limited target audience, with regards to international viewers. Whilst the dialogue is entertaining for the cockney-hardened British viewer, it would make as much sense to other nationalities as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity would make to a Peruvian llama farmer. This would inevitably hinder the overseas profit margin; a common oversight within the British film industry. The film has a slightly predictable end result and it veers to become quite dark and serious in the last twenty minutes (the toilet brush-anal cavity combo springs to mind here).

With these faults aside, Love, Honour and Obey is a decent addition to the British film market. It is one of the best gangster tales that we have on offer and although not very well-known, it is generally a good, fun watch and should be checked out. With a bigger budget we can’t help but feel that this would have been able to compete with the likes of Guy Ritchie.

Performance of the film – Despite a talented cast, Ray Winstone is undisputedly the daddy in this one.

Quote of the film – Ray Winstone “You’re fat, and I’ll throw you in the river…”

Fact of the film – Many aspects of this film are true to life. Ray Winstone is a massive fan of karaoke; This is the second Anciano/Burdis collaboration in the space of a two-year period to use the cast’s actual first names; and ex-S.A.S henchman “Bill” was actually a former member of the special forces, having been awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal in the line of duty.

Soundtrack/score – Most tracks from the film are actually performed by the cast, making it a refreshing karaoke mix including Tony Christie’s Avenues and Alleyways.

Summary:

An enjoyable gangster romp, well worth 94 minutes of your time. Watch it you mug. 83/100.

(Last watched 7 days ago. Reviewed by Mr. Holly and Fuzzy).

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Mr Holly On…Dog Soldiers (2002)


If Dog Soldiers was a mammal, it would be a vampire bat – scary, hairy, full of blood, and yet you cannot take your eyes off of it. It is arguably one of the most gratuitously violent, and under-certified films on the U.K. market (The Untouchables 1987)) also springs to mind as Both are rated Fifteen). Perhaps the British Board of Film Classification should have granted this film an Eighteen certificate, like their Irish counterparts.

The story begins with a military training exercise set in the wilderness that is the Scottish Highlands (despite actually being filmed in Norway). What seems to be a staged combat scenario between Army Infantry and Special Ops, is disrupted by a furry third party.

After a hair-raising initial contact, Sean Pertwee (Love, Honour and Obey (2000)) leads a team of survivors to take refuge in a seemingly vacant cottage. It is here that the rest of the pieces fall in to place. A midst a hail of gunfire and drool, the characters are well-developed to a degree not usually seen in traditional horror-fests.

The film incorporates a wonderfully written and typically British script, but does include certain slang terms (“claret”, “brew” and “bone”) which could alienate potential viewers across the pond. Between consistent references to folklore and football however, a natural British feel emerges. A montage of well-deployed camera angles and overcast lighting is used throughout, adding to the feeling of tension. The opportunism of the characters during scenes of confrontation is refreshing in films of this type. For instance, the use of boiling water and aerosols as weapons would please even the most critical “if that was me…” viewer.

On the negative side, the werewolves appear more The Littlest Hobo (1979) than Lycanthrope and seem to have more hair than Chewbacca’s hairbrush.  Also, the performances of a couple of the cast seem more wooden than the endless supply of planks used throughout the siege scenario. On a shoestring budget of around £3 million however, this is to be expected.

The film also incorporates a dark comedic backbone throughout, portrayed through one-liners, small talk and petty insults. This black humour, coupled with colloquialisms also add to the sense that this is a film produced for a predominantly British audience. Along with 28 Days Later (2002), The Descent (2005) and Creep (2004), Dog Soldiers proves to be a refreshing addition to the British horror movie industry. All in all, a fun watch.

Performance of the film – This film was never going to win Oscars for acting, despite convincing performances from Pertwee and Mckidd ( Trainspotting (1996)). Pertwee sneaks it by a whisker.

Quote of the film – Despite a plethora of one liners, Emma Cleasby’s “It’s that time of the month” stands out.

Fact of the Film – Alongside his diverse acting career, Kevin Mckidd has provided the voice for ‘Soap MacTavish’ in the hugely popular computer games franchise Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Soundtrack/Score – No real soundtrack, but a catchy score from Mark Thomas had us humming for a while.

Summary:

Some cheesy one-liners, but a very dogged effort. A good horror film – rarer than a steak tartar. 82/100.

(Last watched 6 hours ago. Reviewed by Mr  Holly and Fuzzy.)

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