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Top class Brit flick!
graboidinator23 January 2004
You simply cannot put this movie down, a great all British cast and a great all British sport, being British and a great lover of Manchester United, i was up for this film and it didn't diasappoint me in the slightest. Vinnie Jones was brilliant as Danny Meehan and Jason Statham as the 'Monk' was simply classic vintage stuff. The match is what the watchers of this film want to see and it is fantastically constructed, just one tip of advice, don't p*** of the 'Monk'

10/10 stars, classic stuff
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Need more of these from our British cousins!
MattIn71819 July 2004
I could understand not liking this movie if someone was expecting Citizen Kane (and if you were, you should be flogged). For a straight to video/cable movie, it had great prod. value, sharp dialogue, and a great supporting cast of Guy Ritchie characters. Throw in some solid football and you have a film to help you forget the worries of your day. The commentary by the two Bobs alone makes it worthwhile. Jones is good, but Statham steals the show in almost all of his scenes. Like the original (The Longest Yard), it was made to entertain the audience, not to provoke some deep introspective thought on the existence of God. See it, rent it, buy it! If you cant discern the heavy British slang, throw on the subtitles. If you don't have a DVD player, how in the hell are you managing to read this?
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1-0 to the Mean Machine.
Spikeopath30 December 2009
Mean Machine is an English reworking of Robert Aldrich's 1974 beefcake Burt Reynolds starrer, The Longest Yard. Substituting Gridiron for Soccer, director Barry Skolnick, along with his roll call of British "faces", is only aiming for one market.

That of the footie worshipping clan that primarily resides within the United Kingdom.

Very much a long way from competing on the same playing field as Aldrich's superior movie, Mean Machine does have enough about it to make it an enjoyable viewing outside of the excellently constructed soccer match that fills out the last third of the piece. But with the film's reputation being far from good, the chance that many others feel the same as me are pretty remote. About as remote as Accrington Stanley winning the English Premiere League one feels.

The problem would seem to lay with the first hour, violence and humour thrust together does not always yield great rewards, and so it be with the wet behind the ears direction from Skolnick. Caught between a tough portrayal of British prison life and outright slapstick, it's an odd bedfellow that Skolnick can't quite get right. And with Guy Ritchie on the sidelines donning the "supervising producer" shirt, one can't help thinking that Ritchie would have made substantially more with the material to hand. But as "I" say, there's enough there for the discerning fan of blood and banter.

Led by the watchable Jones, the cast, outside of the miscast David Hemmings as the Governor, pull out the stops to entertain the terrace faithful. Danny Dyer haters will enjoy him getting knocked about as he plays simpleton Billy Limpet, while Jason Statham is a joy as Monk, a Jock that even the Jocks are afraid of. While also putting in scene stealing shifts of note are Jamie Sives, Vas Blackwood and Omid Djalili. It's no piece of work to rank in the higher echelons of British movies - or sports movies in general for that matter. But in spite of its soggy formula and over reliance on the template film it's working from, it's very funny at times, and if you like soccer? Well the actual match is well worth the wait. 7/10

Footnote: The Longest Yard/Mean Machine was met with another re- imaging in 2005 with Adam Sandler as the disgraced lead protagonist. Proof positive that it's either a formula that many can't resist? Or that it's one that some feel still hasn't yet met its potential?
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unmatched soccer movie, great prison film
northbert1 June 2004
I'm not a fan of sport movies and I am not able to watch a soccer match without dozing off, but this one got me. A sympathetic cast I know from the Guy Richie's Snatch with lovely variety of British accents, this film features a lively plot, very funny quotes and a good physical humor, elaborate shots, and an interesting range of prison characters. No matter the characters are rather flat, this simplification I was willing to accept, since the story was so good.

Even though I may have seen better prison movies, and even some that are similar in plot; the Mean Machine is unmatched in the rather distant, ironical view of the prison world, honoring fair-play and manly virtues. Moreover, I was very happy not to see any homosexual relationships among the prisoners, no matter the actual prison reality. (On the other hand, I liked the bookie, he had a style.)

All in all, I enjoyed this film very much. Do not expect food for thought but rest assured this is not a dumb entertainment either.
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Brilliant final third, and a good Jones, despite the flaws this is an above-average sports/prison drama
TheLittleSongbird26 January 2010
If sometimes just lacking the creativity and vitality of the 1974 film, this is an above average sports/prison drama. There are some flaws though, one or two of the characters are thinly sketched, the plot is a touch simplistic and the first half hour just lacked the energy of the latter half of the film. That said, this is well worth watching. The whole film is excellently filmed and directed, and the soccer scenes are very well done. The final third is absolutely riveting, and really makes you want to see what the outcome is at the end. The music score is fine, and the performances are very good. Vinnie Jones is convincing in his first leading role, and David Kelly is stellar as the benevolent Doc. The best pieces of casting are (despite the accent) Jason Statham as maverick keeper and Jason Flemying's rather unconventional commentator. In conclusion, this is a good film. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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Rage Against The Machine
Chrysanthepop1 June 2008
Based on Keenan Wynn's 'The Longest Yard', Fletcher adds Brit wit to the screenplay as Skolnick directs a splendid film. Of course the story isn't anything new (like most sports flicks) but the humour brings out the charm. The characters are fun to watch and funnily enough the actors have famously starred in Guy Ritchie films. It's as if they were in prison for the crimes they committed in those films. But, just to avoid any misconception, this isn't a crime-flick and it's very different from the Ritchie films, both in style and content. One doesn't have to be a football fan to enjoy it as the entertainment value is universal. The football match sequence was hilarious and if only the real matches were half entertaining! All the actors do a fine job but it is Vinnie Jones who carries the movie and it's nice to see him as a guy who gets beaten up in comparison to the tough guy roles he's typecast in. Overall, this is a fun little film, not one to be taken too seriously.
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The Longest Yard Redux
vanessa_aiton27 October 2003
I really enjoyed this flick. Perhaps because I always enjoy sports related flicks, or because I am a huge fan of Vinnie Jones, thanks to Guy Richie, or maybe because I am in love with Jason Statham, also thanks to Guy.

But why I watched it in the first place was because I had always enjoyed The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds, in fact the only flick of his I enjoyed, and was very happy to see a British version of the football classic. I loved the characters, the seamless transition from American football to European football, and the accents. Vinnie Jones gives yet another great performance, and it was nice to see so many characters return from Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels as well as Snatch (great flicks!).

I give this flick 4 1/2 stars, only because it didn't showcase "Monk" enough for my tastes.
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Engaging and intense
Gordon-1111 April 2010
This film is about a disgraced national football coach who gets imprisoned for assault. He coaches the prison football team to play against the guards.

While watching the first half of the film, I was so sure that I would not enjoy it. All the roughness and senseless violence put me off completely. However, as soon as the football match kicks in, I was amazed by the way it lifts my spirits. The match occupies 30 minute screen time, but there is not a second of boredom. Instead, it is so mightily engaging and thoroughly intense. It felt as if I was there to experience the match, and just like everyone, I was hoping for the ultimate pride that would last forever. I am truly impressed by the incredible story telling of "Mean Machine".
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A Fun Ninety Minutes
slightlymad225 December 2014
As a fan of the original Burt Reynolds movie, I had mixed feelings about this movie. On one side as a traditional football (soccer) fan and not a fan of American football, I though I'd get more enjoyment out of it. On the other side I love the original movie so much it would obviously suffer in comparison, and let's be honest Vinnie Jones is no Burt Reynolds.

Plot In A Paragraph: A disgraced former footballer is sent to jail for three years for drunkenly assaulting a police officer. Once there the Warden wants him to train the guards football team, he refuses, after a while he agrees to play in, and coach a team of cons to play the gaurds in a one off match.

Whilst not as enjoyable as the Burt Reynolds version, it is a lot of fun with Jason Statham stealing the show as The Monk!! While Danny Dyer gets a lot of laughs, likewise Vas Blackwood as Massive and David Kelly is touching as Doc.
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A quick review of Mean Machine (2001)
Turley_199328 February 2011
Danny Meehan(Vinnie Jones), a former captain of the English national football team who was banned from football for life for fixing a match between England and Germany, is sentenced to three years in Longmarsh prison for assaulting two police officers after a lengthy drinking session and driving wildly to a local bar, whilst in prison he gets asked to coach the guards but refuses. Meehan (Jones) then goes on to make a team of convicts, with half the people in Longmarsh not liking him it wont be an easy task.

This film is very good; it involves violence & humour at the same time. It's not for younger viewers due to the language & violence involved in some scenes. I like this film because of its story line & casting.

I would give the film 4 stars out of 5.
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funny football nonsense
smokesymcpot26 August 2005
Now see I loved Snatch. I loved Lock Stock thats me so yet again for sure i loved this. Vinnie Jones as usual is not the most convincing but his presence is felt from the outset. Danny Dyer "Tommy Johnson" The football factory provided some very funny moments showing his status as not just a swearing buffoon of British acting. The match drags on and the commentary during the game is unbelievably childish and the match would have been a lot better without it. Also I cant see how they can portray all of the prison staff as racist low lives that beat cheat and steal.Oh an who can forget Massive.... It's Ironic! I cant see a sequel or any of that nonsense but one of the better British films of the past few years.
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My favorite man is 'Monk'
edremitli26 July 2005
I have watched this movie 3 times and every time I enjoyed it even better. I am totally bored off the American accent of the Hollywood films. Different British accents in this movie removed the rust from my ears. Two commentators were the best I've ever heard. Monk was the most colorful character in the movie, although was given a limited role. I prefer European movies to US movies most of the time. In US movies a hero saves the world, the nation, the city or the whole universe. They spent lots of money on special effects, the artificial scenes, costumes, etc. But those films lack something that I found it difficult to explain in English. Despite their limited budget, European movies like "Mean Machine" manage to affect the audience emotionally and have a better recallability ratio.
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Mean Machine
tclynes17 January 2005
Mean Machine is one of the great Ska Films from the UK. ska films also noted for brit flicks such as lock stock and two smoking barrels and the more known snatch, have blended the same ingredients from there previous films to create another screen gem. Vinnie Jones, considering his background plays a great part and plays it well, helped greatly of course by the other strong characters. Maybe not being fully understood by American audience, the characters, either realistically or stereotypically, represent prison life be it screws, cons or the big men. i felt it managed to have violence without being over violent and still spread in a good few laughs, never forgetting bob and bob the commentators. of course the ending was a tad predictable but any other way would make it depressing, the underdog always wins. overall a good film for the budget, with a dashing of low key actors making it memorable and kind of cult film. an A grade
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Blimey, need the Mean Machine to eradicate meanness?
janyeap5 March 2002
Call them old re-cycled clichés from the past perhaps, but this film, with Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham's impressionable performances, is worth seeing before this film hits the video stores or cable! At least, their characters are equally as funny and wild as The Longest Yard-`Burt Reynolds' bunch!

Of course, this is one heck of a guy's movie where cheers are for cons, and jeers for their `screws'! Still, it is one British comedy with loads of silly goofs, strengthened by a fantastic soccer game to hold the viewers' interest. Only wish all soccer games do bring equal excitement! This flick is one mean drama that takes the whole cast to kick up laughter! Yep, good old British `tavern' parlance… if the viewers have a knack for Cockney accents and slang! I'm not a sport fan, nor am I fond of ruthless and insensible nudging, but I literally behaved like a stadium spectator, guffawing boisterously while watching one team demean another. Each team does have its psychotic players with their crazy antics! Tough charlatans and their power struggle out on the open field!

Blimey! Lots of scenes making my brains rock and belly shake! The erratic `Mambo Jumbo' music score certainly builds up steam. No doubt, I'll have to try to get used to `Irish Eyes Are Smiling' strumming up in samba beat! But overall, the music compilation does well to yank up the moods. The camerawork frequently diminishes my eye-focus in my attempt to catch up with the actions and wit! Just one big soccer field for landscape, but there's enough living action to captivate the eyes! Some cool `aerial' camera-shots too!

But atlas, this is not the sort of film that will present food for thought once it's over. Everything is predictable, as in many sport-flicks. Laugh while events last! And believe that the only credible thing about this movie is the extensity of a corrupted man's gambling woes that goes with sport, as portrayed by the villainous Hemmings!

Of course, there's one learning lesson that gets through this flick: it takes meanness to fight meanness! Surprise? Of course not! What else can one expect from a bunch of toughies, involved in a rough sport and within a sinister environment! Rules, therefore, are meant to be broken and there will be plenty of vicious manipulations up everyone's sleeves! And how each culprit tackles it is a laughing matter! I sure had fun watching this flick…
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Pleasant enough British Drama with a great cast.
MUFCOK10 December 2014
Vinnie Jones plays Danny Meehan, a retired footballer who disgraced his country by cheating an England v Germany football match to win a bet. The movie begins after his retirement with him speeding around town in his sports car, drinking from a bottle of Vodka, being chased by Police. He then proceeds to beat up the Police Officers and needless to say, he gets arrested and sentenced to 3 years behind bars.

In prison he swiftly brought back to reality and reminded that behind bars, he isn't a footballer and the prisoners and guards haven't forgotten what he did in that England v Germany game. Danny Meehan is then ordered to captain the prisoners in a one off football match against the guards.

The best thing about Mean Machine is the cast, if you have watched other British Films around this time you will recognise so many of the supporting actors from films such as Snatch, Lock Stock, Football Factory. Not to mention, Vinnie Jones, Jason Statham, Danny Dyer, David Kelly & David Hemmings! The cast is fantastic but the characters are even better, it has a great mix of different people, serious one, funny ones, stupid ones & of course the prison nutter(i.e. the Monk!).

The Story is of course predictable, it has many cliché moments & it certainly doesn't offer anything new. But it is entertaining! The first half of the movie has quite a serious feel to it, it moves along very fast & doesn't offer much character development. I didn't really feel like I connected with any of the characters , which is a shame as they were so many unique characters involved! The second half of the story, when they start to train for the football match & the coverage of the football match itself is much more light hearted and funny, there are many laugh out loud moments. The coverage of the football match is absolutely fantastic, the best part of the movie by far. Bob & Bob as the commentators are hilarious; football commentators could take a note out of their book! The way the match is filmed is also perfect, a lot of sports films are let down by the camera angles & the speed of the action but in Mean Machine I feel the director got it spot on. You could really see what was happening and I think this was made easier by Bob & Bob! Overall Mean Machine is an entertaining movie but far from perfect in my eyes. I have seen the Adam Sandler – Longest Yard before seeing this and I think that spoiled it for me, it is basically the same story and I had no surprises whilst watching this. The Second half outshines the first by quite a way in my opinion. I feel like they could have offered more in the first half of the movie, Character development, more tension, make you feel for the characters more. As I said before, the football match was brilliant and hilarious and saved this movie for me. This is certainly worth a watch and is entertaining enough to pass the time.

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Not a bad football/soccer and prison film
StayinFrosty22 September 2004
Based on the 1974 American movie, The Longest Yard, Mean Machine is about an ex-pro footballer/soccer player who is sent to prison. Hated at first, he gains friends when he begins to coach an all-convict soccer team against the prison guards' already-established team.

I haven't seen the original so I can't compare them but I found Mean Machine pretty enjoyable. Vinnie Jones does a good job as Danny Meehan and it's nice to see him in a role where he's not the scary one. I liked the subtle humour as well, from Massive's ironic name to the unpredictable Monk (the crazy "Scot even the Scots are afraid of" - convincingly played by Jason Statham) to the pair of commentators, Bob and Bob at the final match.

The DVD I saw included audio tracks for both the original UK theatrical release and the "domestic" (i.e. American) release. After watching the original, I learned that the American had a few words re-dubbed to make the language easier to understand for these audiences. I then watched the second version and didn't find much of a difference between the two. There were some things that the character Nitro said that were noticeably re-dubbed (which didn't help much considering the way he shouts!) and a few slang terms were changed to more international expressions. I think some reviewers of this film may have been unaware of this and so complained about the more obvious dubbing.

The only one I actually found helpful was when a character says he's in prison "for [an abbreviation]." I didn't catch what he said and the American version replaced the letters with "assault and battery." I found one change a bit puzzling though: Mr. Sykes gives the governor of the prison tips for horse racing, writing letters next to his choices on a newspaper. After losing money on a false winner ("W"), Sykes explains to the governor that "it got smudged in the rain. It says EW: either way." This was changed to "EW: to place." I thought the original was quite clear and the new one no longer matches the letters.

Overall, it's not a bad film. I liked it enough to watch it twice and if you like football/soccer and prison films, there aren't many that combine the two to choose from.
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2001, 1981, 1971 = a classic theme
LivingDog1 October 2003
Vinnie Jones as "Danny Meehan" and Jason Statham as "Monk" deliver solid performances on a solid theme of a movie. I particularly liked Statham (who played "Turkish" in _Snatch_) because this proved to me how solid of an *actor* he is. I was totally convinced by his performance and forgot the actor behind the mask. Statham was totally dedicated to this role and it showed every second he was on camera.

Solid production, solid casting, supporting roles by all. 9/10

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I can't believe people didn't like this movie, well at first I couldn't get into it, it wasn't capturing my attention, but then after watching it a few times, i loved it.
stephaniesherman049 December 2004
I have been reading reviews about the movie Mean machine. People are Saying it is not very good nor funny. What? This movie is hesterical .The second half of the movie when they are playing the game is very funny. You have to watch it a few times to really start liking it. The dialogue and the facial expressions have just been cracking us up. The two game announcers are the best part of the movie-have you noticed both their names are BOB (BOB CARTER AND BOB LIKELY)- we counted how many times these guys say " bob" to each other - it's something like 40 times in the soccer game . funny!!!!!

You gotta love the MONK!!!!!!!

I can't believe people didn't like this movie, well at first I couldn't get into it, it wasn't capturing my attention, but then after watching it a few times, i loved it. Look out for the characters - the Monk, The 2 game announcers, they make the movie very funny and entertaining.All of the characters were very amusing. Rent these other movies and then watch Mean Machine again and maybe you will appreciate it more. Rent: Snatch Lock, stoke and 2 smoking barrels. The 3 movies have a lot of the same actors in it and they are quite entertaining Watch it again, give it a chance, it is one of mine and my boyfriends favorite movies right now.

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Vinnie Jones is in it.Caveat Emptor...
ianlouisiana12 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Vinnie Jones - about as Welsh as Sean Connery - was the worst footballer ever to play for Wales.I realise that's rather a rash statement but I'd back it up by saying he was the worst player ever to turn out for Wimbledon,a team not known for their adherence to the "Beautiful Game" ethos.His fame - apart from nearly crippling Liverpool's star winger in the second minute of the 1988 Cup Final - rests mainly on a photograph of him squeezing boy - child Paul Gascoigne's testicles in a tender moment.That really says all you need to know about him. Reading his Filmography just now I am mystified at the number of movies he has graced with his presence.Is it just me? Anyhow,"Mean Machine" is typical of the no - brainer bullet - headed roles he accepts as to the manner born. Appalling overacting by everybody,limping direction,Am - Dram production values and a script written by a computer set to "Cockney " mode.....and they're the good points.... Even with 10 pints of Stella and a Mutton vindaloo down your gullet it's still frankly unbearable.
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Did we leave any cliches out? I think not.
Mac-Daddy29 May 2002
Another review on this page describes this movie as 'recommendable if you want to escape for 90 minutes.' I can only say wish I had escaped the cinema before the 90 minutes was up. Completely predictable, full of cliches and old gags, frustratingly stopstart use of music. There is NOTHING in this movie you haven't seen before. Even if you haven't seen the original. 1/10 (half a point for each of the two laughs I had.)
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Mediocre mediocrity
=G=18 July 2002
"Mean Machine" is an all Brit flick about a former soccer hero who goes to prison and is coerced into leading the prisoners to victory in a football match against the guards. A schizophrenic film which straddles the comedy/drama divide like two ballroom dancers listening to different music; one doing salsa, the other a waltz, neither very well, "MM" manages okay art and technicals but fails in execution. May have some appeal among soccer enthusiasts. Wait for broadcast. (D+)
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chrismonkee8 September 2018
I watched it on account of Burt Reynolds passing away. I'm British, thought this would be half-way interesting.

It's awful. Wooden acting, tedious dialogue, ridiculous characters. Like an episode of the British sitcom "Porridge" that is trying to be like the film "Scum".

I gave it 30 mins then switched it off.
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Good football film! Apart from First 30 minutes!
chris.cooper-33 January 2002
The Mean Machine starts badly, poor acting, TV movie quality, cheesy storyline and Vinnie Jones very wooden. Every prison movie cliche is there and it is awful for the first thirty minutes.

Then things start going right, Vinnie looks a lot more comfortable and the movie starts to get going and goes from strength to strength with loads of gags and some occasional violence to break things up a bit.

However, what this film is about is Football (Soccer) and what it delivers in so-far as Football action is excellent, I doubt if any film has captured the sport so captivating and also so funny!

I came out of this film happy that I had been well entertained for at least an hour, grit your teeth for the first thirty minutes and then sit back relax and watch some excellent Football action!!!
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Keeping your head up when your world is falling down
McBaine28 December 2001
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.
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Not that funny or interesting but distracting enough nonsense to appeal to slightly drunk male football fans
bob the moo4 August 2006
Danny Meehan is a former football star and former captain of England at the top level. However when a drunken binge leads to an assault on some police officers, Danny finds himself in prison where the welcome is less than, well, welcoming. Struggling to fit in and threatened by guards and prisoners alike, Danny accepts the offer from the gambling warden to stage a football match between the prisoners and the officers. However with few willing to stand up with Danny (and against the screws), things look like they will be near impossible.

One of a couple of remakes of The Longest Yard, this film goes for a straight remake but with a UK setting. Despite it occasionally having a serious edge to it, this is mostly a film about laddish jokes, banter and sports. It could have had interesting subtexts about corruption, the impact of sport on society or the corrupting nature of power/authority but instead it just goes for the lowest denominator every chance it gets. In this way it marks out its territory and its target audience and never really aspires to much beyond this. It is a shame really because it is clearly trying serious things but they just come off as clunky and not developed properly. The effect of this is that it regularly knocks the wind out of the fun aspect that only occasionally gets up a good head of steam.

The cast do the best they can regardless and, in fairness, they do OK. Jones is pretty convincing in most scenes and only struggles when he is called upon to convey emotion or carry the serious stuff. Blackwood is good value in a silly role. Statham nicely sends up his martial arts personae well. The rest of the cast are so-so and fit in with the general so-so level the film is working on but you do have to wonder why Sally Phillips bothered to show up for such a pointless character.

Overall a basic sports comedy. It isn't very funny, doesn't have much of interest and it isn't much cop. At the time I was shattered and just looking for something brainless to fill a bit of down time – on that level it worked for me, but only just.
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