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Rise of the Footsoldier Part II (2015)

The life of underworld icon Carlton Leach.



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The life of underworld icon Carlton Leach.

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Release Date:

11 December 2015 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Reign of the General  »

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£5,000,000 (estimated)

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Ricci Harnett's directorial debut. See more »


Follows Rise of the Footsoldier (2007) See more »

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Greed Disguised As Redemption
20 December 2015 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

The original RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER was unfortunate in that it arrived very belatedly in an era when most British films seemed inspired by Guy Ritchie . There's only some much mileage you can squeeze out of a formula so by the time RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER came out everyone had become bored by mockney gangsters . That said I found Julian Gilbey's true life crime movie to be rather underrated and if there was a British equivalent of GOODFELLAS that might have been it . Crime doesn't pay ? Tell me about it . Despite this the idea of a sequel seems needless and I can see why this continuation of Carlton Leach's life story came and went without the slightest fanfare

In its favour director and star Ricci Harnett concentrates on continuity with the prior film . Some of the cast are resurrected and we have the same look and feel as the 2007 . There is a slight difference and that where Leach became a very peripheral character in the second half of RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER here he appears in nearly every scene and is the constant central character of the narrative

This leads to a fundamental problem though . While the lives of Tate , Rolfe and Tucker were unremittingly violent and made the first film compelling here there's considerably less violence which makes for a less compulsive film . Don't get me wrong , you won't confuse this with Walt Disney family fare but this tends to draw your attention to another aspect - self justification . Carlton you see isn't really a bad man and only maims and beats people who deserve it and the understated violence is only inflicted on people who deserve . Perhaps even worse there's an element of redemption running through the narrative subtext but how does a former West Ham ICF thug and gangster redeem himself ? The answer is he probably can't . It's not a bad film but if you need convincing that crime doesn't pay the message has been spelled out in better films without trying to elicit sympathy from the audience

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