Following the deadly climax of "Green Street Hooligans," several members of the West Ham firm and numerous members of Millwall end up in jail. The GSE quickly discover the brutality of life... See full summary »
Jesse V. Johnson
When Newcastle United soccer star Santiago Munez is offered a spot with Real Madrid, he accepts, but the move - accompanied by big money and fame - tests his ties and loyalties to family, friends and business acquaintances.
Unjustly expelled from Harvard when a stash of cocaine is found in his possession, Matt moves to London to live with his sister and her husband Steve. He is quickly introduced to Steve's chirpy, cock-sure younger brother Pete. Initially, Pete is reluctant to get acquainted with Matt and allow him to tread around the capital city with him because he may be seen by others as an 'outsider', but after a heavy drinking session with him and his mates he quickly changes his opinion of him. On the way back from a football match, Matt is viciously accosted by a gang of Birmingham City thugs, until Pete and his friends step in and save him. It is from here that Matt learns the truth about Pete and his friends- they are football hooligans, operating the GSE (Green Street Elite) 'firm.' Initially afraid of the violence, Matt soon ends up becoming as desensitized to it as his new found friends - but as events roll on, suspicion, shocking revelations and unsettled scores combine to a devastating ... Written by
First of all there hasn't been a good film about English Football Hooliganism. Both ID in 1995 and last years FOOTBALL FACTORY either failed to convince or just went down the familiar exploitative road of glamorising the buzz and thrill of violence.
HOOLIGANS as the title suggests depicts what these aforementioned films centre upon with the added value of having a story and characters you care about. There's no avoiding the cliché's as the ranks of these organised gang members are portrayed as gangsters.
Similar to BBC's Gary Oldman drama THE FIRM broadcast in 1986 it also show the characters as normal members of society, family men with respectable jobs. FOOTBALL FACTORY took the extreme and unconvincing scenario that these weekend animals are florist's during the week which might be amusing but the subject matter of organised territorial football hooliganism needs to be given a serious look at.
Fortunately HOOLIGANS portrays this more realistically, sure there's the stereo types in designer clothes (The Chavs) as we call them now where loyalty, respect, revenge, dignity and pride are what they live for, not the enjoyment of the actual sport. This simply acts as the excuse to fight in a traditional gang warfare environment. The prospect of West Ham's cup tie with Millwall brings joy to the faces of both sets of fans.
Casting Elijah Wood is a bold move, he looks like a Choirboy but this adds to the films main storyline of innocence corrupted. The acting is better than average, despite letting his cockney accent slip on occasions, Gang leader Charlie Hunnam shows a genuine mix of anger, aggression and compassion which holds the film together.
This won't win awards but it's refreshing to see a film finally tackling the subject matter that unfortunately has been a shameful factor of Britain's attitude towards football as we are constantly under threat of being disqualified from International tournaments due to the bad behaviour of soccer hooligans.
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