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Mean Machine (2001)
Keeping your head up when your world is falling down
When I went to see 'Mean Machine', I could not help but think back to the original version (starring Burt Reynolds, and known as 'The Longest Yard'). I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the story had been updated.
True, football (Soccer) had replaced American Football, but the story remained the same - how a fallen star gains the respect of those who envy the fact that he had it all and blew it, whilst they never had the chance to be anything other than what they are. Vinnie Jones does a good job of playing 'Danny Meehan', and the supporting cast complements Jones' fallen star - Vas Blackwood, Jason Statham and Jason Fleyming are all convincing as convicts, as well as other SKA Film regulars (you'll recognise them when you see them).
The only (potential) criticism of the film is that one main similarity remains between this version and the original version - what type of film is this? For the first 45 minutes, you could be mistaken for thinking it is a drama. For the last 45 minutes, it may be a comedy. But this in itself is not a strict criticism. Having a varied theme does, on occasion, work in favour of the film - it is versatile enough to allow each character to develop and grow on the viewer. Indeed, towards the end of the film you might find yourself cheering for characters you might have despised after the first half-hour of the film.
Overall, a solid update of a film that, despite not offering as much as it possibly could, is definitely entertaining. And if a film manages to entertain a viewer, then it has served its purpose.