Hooligans at War: North vs. South (2015) Poster

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Perhaps The Worst British Film I've Seen In My Entire Life
Theo Robertson14 April 2015
Sometimes I get the opportunity to watch a newly released film for free . I almost feel guilty about this sometimes . Almost . Honestly I do and when a new British movie comes out like last years heart pounding thriller '71 the least I can do is give it my support and hand over my money at the cinema and feel a burst of jingoistic pride that I've contributed to British film making . If I don't do this once in a while I feel I've committed an act of high treason so just imagine how I felt when I didn't pay to see HOOLIGANS AT WAR . Guilty with a capital G-U-I-L- T and Y . As soon as the opening credits finished I started becoming aware of something - if the makers of this piece of unwatchable compost don't recompense me 40 minutes of my life I wasted watching this they should be hanging their heads in utter shame

The film starts with a flashback to a British army camp in Bosnia 5 years ago and involves a battle scene . This will be in 2010 . SFOR had been replaced by EUFOR six years earlier and despite having never set foot in the country I can tell you there was no fighting between local militias and EUFOR soldiers going on in 2010 . I'm pretty sure Bosnia no longer has local ethnic militias that the country was notorious for in the 1990s . I suppose we can overlook this and the totally amateur production values if it sets up the story

Hold on there's another flashback after this as the basic training regiment in the mess hall . Mess halls at these locations are normally large halls crowded with young men in their late teens and early twenties with a hairstyle of number two at the sides and back and a number four cut on top . Not here where there's an intake of about a dozen men and they're all aged in their late twenties to mid thirties with various hairstyles and many of them are obvious salad dodgers who'd have trouble walking to the bus stop never minding lumping sixty pounds of equipment on their back up a steep hill . They're so hopeless at trying to convince us they're soldiers they wouldn't even get in to the local airsoft club because even they have standards . In fact the acting is so bad I wondered how any of them managed to get in to the Equity union . I'm not saying the acting is bad what I'm saying is that it's non existent and the casting must be some sort of joke

In fact the whole movie must be some sort of joke ! Sorry did I say movie ? I should have said "thing" and just left it at that because I'd be misleading you if I give the impression that this is going to get any distribution deal . HOOLIGANS AT WAR is obviously shot on a camcorder with a non professional cast and feels like it's trying to parody the likes of Guy Ritchie with a freeze frame and a voice over explaining who the character is . That's the only bit that really works but truth to be told it's really stealing someone elses idea . Really I know it's a cliché when people say "worst movie ever" but this is possibly the worst British film I've ever commentated on in all my years on this website . I've always been fair when reviewing a movie but there is not one saving grace about this film which I turned off after 40 minutes . Believe me if I don't watch a film until the end credits comes up that tells you everything. If someone got out an I-pod and filmed their drunken mates ad libbing an unscripted story as it went along then that would be a more satisfying cinematic film than the thing going under the title of HOOLIGANS AT WAR

I am now owed 40 minutes of my life back and I know that the makers of this thing have visited the page - they're ones who gave it a rating of more than one out of ten !

ETA May 2015 . Thanks for the nice message Chris and better luck next time
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Don't bother.
kingymech14 April 2015
I will watch anything and I mean anything from Gilgi to Titanic to Platoon to American sniper it doesn't matter how good or how bad or what type of film it is ill give it a bash. Wow what to say about this film, maybe I'll tell the people I don't like to watch it to make myself feel good. What I can say is bad acting, REALLY bad military interaction with likes to Uniforms, weapon systems terminology all round big no no's (BBC's My Girl style) There are too many films that are trying to use the military (my opinion) to boost the story line. There is one bit of the film where the CGI is that bad it's like a flash game on the internet. Poor story line weak main characters, I just wanted to the film to end I didn't care what happened. Sorry, but try again.
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I recommend everyone watch this, just to make you appreciate every other film you hate
vatlva21 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
After watching this irksome low-budget production, I scanned over the reviews already on here, bad and good. The positive ones name drop the directors and one or two other performers, but mainly someone who happens to be director, writer and performer. Really? In this case it might be better not drawing attention to individuals. I hardly think that potential future investors in projects involving any of these people will be motivated to open their wallets by these positive so-called reviews given all the positives appear at the bottom of the page and the negatives appear at the top. It would surely be easier for people to fiddle the anonymous ratings or 'thumb-down' the real reviews rather than making things up and praying for the best outcome? Most intelligent people can spot a fake or dubious review a mile off anyway I would imagine, given that I know I can.

This is cheap, in almost every way. From the amateurishly recorded cockney voice-over (used in every single gangster film these days but for a different reason here) to the fact that the outdoor army scenes were filmed in the park next to where the pub scenes were filmed - clearly. Some money must have been spent on it somewhere along the way but it appears there are a lot of people in this who probably worked for free. The main characters are really low-quality actors who are unlikely to ever see the light at the end of the tunnel in the world of cinema if they carry on involving themselves in productions as horrid as this. The story itself has already been covered on this page so I won't go into it, but the appaulingness of it all has to be seen to be believed, but hopefully not by anyone I love. I for one can not believe how some men and women have so much free time on their hands they are able to waste it chucking together this mound of everything that could possibly be bad in cinema. Bad directors. Bad actors - even the Best Boy needs a quiet word had. As mentioned, one of the directors wrote this and plays the main character so says it all, really.

This isn't supposed to be a comedy, but there were some laugh-out-loud moments in it which I appreciated, however unintentional they must have been. The segment halfway through where a bunch of fat men jump out of a car to perform an act of armed robbery on a wagon driver was 100% utter hilarity. Because the vast majority of the performers and extras (try differentiating between the two, its tough) are so laughably overweight and unfit, they actually sped up the footage to make it look like they were exiting the vehicle faster than they were able so for a few seconds it looked like something out of The Benny Hill Show. All that was needed was Yakety Sax on the soundtrack and this could have been a real comedy. It didn't stop there. Two thirds of the way through, there is a scene where some overweight, puffed out, tight clothed, absolutely unbelievable combat troops are surveying an abandoned building - somewhere in Eastern Europe. Problem is, the film is so disrespectful to it's audience they didn't even bother to get rid of the 'R' reg British registration plates from the Iveco truck prop they had borrowed from the breakers. Disgraceful. Really, really bad.

I must add as well that although I love combat films, having recently had the privilege of seeing the much unknown Hyena Road (a real film which cost more than a fiver) I resent someone trying to convince me that a squad of British soldiers would all (and I mean ALL) be at least 4 stone overweight. How would they cope in a real combat situation? Fat people like this would not pass basic training in the United Kingdom armed forces and the attempt to convince anyone otherwise is farcical and unrealistic. Its no wonder our forces are regarded by some other countries as a joke. I hope no-one out there has the bad luck to watch this and think this is what its really like. God Almighty.

The film ventures too far into the realms of fantasy and I can tell you from experience that a 20 stone overweight trooper walking around in this day and age in any part of the world refusing to wear a chin strap, refusing to carry his rifle and simultaneously trying to anger and wind up his mates in a seriously dangerous combat situation would not happen in a million years. He would have been filtered out early on after filling out his application form with his sausage fingers and would probably be in military prison or sucking his lard through a straw after almost being beaten to death by a bunch of squad-mates using bars of soap inside socks. Its all just so unrealistic.

Never mind the hooligan part of the film. Because they only employed fat men of indeterminate vintage, just about all of the characters blend into one and it's generally impossible to tell one from the other, which I would imagine is the reason for the joke voice-over to try to remind viewers who is who. All except that is the main performer whose character is called 'Chris'. He has at least an allover short back and sides, not a cropped hairstyle and so stands out - but not in a good way. My suggestion would be to remain in the fatigues and hide in some long reeds.

I would suggest a good way to get these intended future Oscar winners to stand out and be different from the other people in the film would be to have some acting ability. Either that or go back to working in Halfords. It would be a far less painful and more enjoyable experience for anyone interested in cinema.
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Got to be a joke!
collioure_bee17 April 2015
All I wanted to say about this dreadful waste of time is that it is laughably bad, but apparently I need to use more words than that.

Everything about this film is terrible. The acting, directing, script, storyline, soundtrack. There is no tension, no depth in the characters or script and the fight scenes are like something off Magic Roundabout. Even after overlooking the historical inaccuracies of the scenes in Bosnia this is just one massive joke. And the joke was on me sitting right through it. Not one of the actors in this would get a decent part in a local am dram group.

Yes, it is low budget but that is no excuse, I've seen many decent films on a low budget This film just looks like it was a load of mates with a poor quality camera just playing about. An utter waste of time.
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A truly predictable film
gxxy11 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I have to say that I did push myself to the bitter end of the film to give it a chance. I appreciate that the budget was small but come on, there were times when I laughed out loud at how bad it was. Wooden acting and a horrifying montage of North South accents. I'd give this film a very wide berth. If it didn't go straight to DVD then I'm surprised. A not so typical south London gangster type film with all the stereotypes that we have come to enjoy or not.

There have been a few reviews of this film already and some even praising the film for its attributes and merits. I will save you having to endure the worst 1hr 33mins of my life.
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Yet another super low budget film
skinhead-520 May 2015
Oh come on, move on from the generic "Essex Gangster" films with to many overdone Essex accents and too many expletives! It's a mish-mash of totally incomprehensible scenes with all the jumping from black and white to colour. Some of the army scenes are done pretty badly (ex army speaking here)and although they got the kit right, it's so clearly filmed in the UK! I lost interest in the film thirty or so minutes in, too many character plots and the film follows the usual rubbish of someone telling us in narration format who the people are as we would never work it out. All these films try and copy Lock, Stock and two Smoking Barrels but it don't work due to the budget problems.

It was only £5 from the bargain bin....Now on an auction site for £2.00!
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My son, aren't we scraping the barrel?
daniel-mannouch31 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Shot on your Dad's Sony and featuring a cast of hundreds (all with their own lines), the film that has given birth to the term 'Hooligangster' is as cheap as they come. Comparing it's expense to dirt would offend some rich Kentish soil, so I'll avoid. But dammit, is it not a goer? Really the Lock, Stock wannabe, taking a descent stab at having a personality with some kind of success, i think.

Hooligan's at War is the low end of the British independent commercial scene to be sure, clinging on to those gangland classics like the distant relative of a celebrity's partner whilst ignoring basic aesthetic etiquette. Seriously, the look of the film is awful. Filter's look like iMovie and the camera could not have cost more than a hundred, to own! If it did mate, your cinematographer shafted you a right nasty with 'is soft focus crapovision. Bad, bad stuff.

But, saying all that, it does give it an atmosphere, not a gritty one, an underground one if i'm feeling like a pretentious cancer, but for now i'll say home movie. But obviously the director did not take advantage and went with the locked down, stylised approach for the most part which just does not work with low-fi filmmaking. You need either film or six- seven figures to pass that off. But enough film school nonsense.

Shoddy camera-work (minus that cracking ruck mid-way) can be forgiven in part if the story is focused, which it's not here. What sinks Hooligan's at War most of all is it's overabundance of 'quirky' usual suspects badly complimented by the overly busy voice narration. Bit parts are given notification for no descent reason. It's not smart, it's not attitude, it's padding, and these clowns still could not fit 90 minutes with it.

The narrative between two friends/brothers/no name mugs is kinda engaging. The Bosnia flashbacks inter-cut are well executed and do succeed in giving the film scope (Even if they were obviously shot in a Bromley backwoods). The best scene of the film by far is the captured Bosnian soldier pleading for his life to the two brothers. It's dramatically dense, the monologue is well delivered, and most importantly, it serves to give a layer of humanity to the brothers that has been uncommon thus far in this contemporary wave of Asda shelve, low budget DV Britsploitation. Gives me hope for the arena, which is why i'm not giving this film one star, which overall it does deserve.

It's an unabashed amateur effort, with poor location and zero attempts at set design in the interiors (Side note: What was with the WCW Nitro memorabilia on that bedside cabinet and the Rey Rey mask during the heist? Someone's a collector ;-).). The story might hit some high notes, but with the technical and production values slumming (And i mean it seemed like throughout it was like "gotta shoot in two hours bah. Get the crew, i'll get a street corner and for chis sake, don't point at the kids school numpty, we'll get done! Ah, ha, ha, ha"), it is deserving of it's considerably low scores here and on da Amazon, or not. It had silicone lezing + skanky video quality = me being very happy for a millisecond!

In conclusion, hooligans at war has one of the best DVD covers to ever grace one of these tax rebates, but its mind numbingly misanthropic and potentially misogynistic (Chantelle!?), although has shades of eccentricity (Crispy Pancakes?!) that save it from being a Full English Breakfast (20and i can't be f****d to remember). Sub-enthusiastically avoid!
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nogodnomasters28 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The film centers on two hooligans, Chris (Chris Bell) who runs north London and Johnny (Alan Lund) who runs south London. I am not too sure what these Hooligans did for money. The film shows them collecting money, almost robbing a truck, and performing street dentistry. Chris and Johnny were in Bosnia together. There are numerous flashbacks. I am assuming the flashback was supposed to connect to the current situation, but I couldn't make the connection. I did notice Chris couldn't keep his cigarette lit and puffed on it in a very annoying fashion. The film goes from black and white to color at random.

This wasn't for me.
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Not the best film ever, but an interesting idea
davidandrewsoriginal16 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start by saying this is not a great movie, it isn't even a particularly good one, but it is quite entertaining and takes a potentially clichéd premise and adds an interesting new spin on it.

The colour grading is appalling, and is most likely the cause of some of the issues with the video quality and the effect doesn't look at all deliberate. I would genuinely preferred that they just left the video in its original colour than bleached it to the point of complete desaturation.

One of the problems with the film is that it introduces characters there that do not appear in the modern day scenes creating the feel of two different movies jammed together to make up the run time. Using the Guy Ritchie device of a freeze frame with a voice over introduction, we are introduced to pretty much every major and minor character that appears on screen, whether or not they are integral to the plot. The army scenes contain a pretty much completely different set of characters to the hooligan scenes and no real attempt has been made to shoot scenes that link the two periods together in any real way; Johnny and Chris' time in the army is never referenced in the hooligan scenes and, as mentioned, none of the army characters reappear in the modern day scenes. The simple device of adding a few hooligan scenes referencing Chris and Johnny's army years and maybe a few reappearing characters from that time would have really helped the film gel a lot better.

The hooligan part of the film has a coherent and funny story that, while not exactly original, has enough endearing characters and humour that is both self aware and self deprecating enough to show that the filmmakers are aware that they are not breaking new ground, but are having fun retreading the well worn paths of the London gang drama. The army scenes are an interesting addition, although they don't really have a particularly cohesive narrative, for example one scene sees the squaddies storming a barn for no established reason and others see them just wandering around aimlessly not making it clear what is going on. This part of the film could have done with more thought and more scripting (the army scenes feel disjointed and as if the director just threw a load of unrelated ideas at the screen to see what would stick) but still adds an interesting new dimension to the otherwise standard premise.

Some of the acting is lamentable (notably Steven Smith, the co-director as Captain Hicks), but Chris Bell and Alan Lund manage to establish a realistic friendship/rivalry throughout the film. Lund is particularly impressive considering, prior to this film, he had not acted on screen before. Their on screen chemistry even salvages the army scenes and makes for entertaining watching, even when the plot seems lacking.

As for the directing, while Smith should know better having directed other films previously, this represents Chris Bell's first directorial effort and is a fantastic start. Is it going to win an Oscar? Of course not, but it is an endearing first attempt and the melding of the army worlds and London hooligan worlds is genuinely interesting; most London hooligan films focus on football hooliganism, but this one attempts to draw parallels between the bonds forged in combat and those maintained in the criminal underworld.

With a higher budget or a better director, this could have been a modern classic and redefined a genre, but, considering the resources on offer for the film, the production still managed to make something watchable even if it doesn't make the best sellers list.
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Definite watch!!!!
leecass-6588416 April 2015
Essentially this is a gangster flick with a nicely incorporated military element. Okay so there may be a few discrepancies with dates of the Bosnian war and the ages of the recruits in the basic training scenes but HOLD ON........You need to appreciate the film for what it is and what Chris Bell and the team have achieved on a minuscule budget! The story of two friends as their lives envelop from the military to top London gangsters. This is a well worked back drop to a very gutsy, hard hitting, gritty and cool British film........

There is plenty of action for the boys as well as some nicely acted scenes showing the complexities and intricacies of everyday relationships within a gangster lifestyle which isn't an easy thing to pull off but the film handles it well.

There are times when the editing / cutting isn't brilliant but we are not talking a Hollywood blockbuster budget here!! There are some nice one-liners and plenty of likable characters which makes the film easily watchable and the documentary style camera shots encompass you into the films ethos really well.

The two main characters Chris and Johnny are played beautifully by Chris Bell and Alan Lund showing the various layers of vulnerability as well as the hard man element.

I take my hat off to what Chris Bell, Steven M Smith and the team have done with this film which includes a lovely and clever twist in the plot!

I for one will be watching this film many times over and because of the way it is filmed and it's slight discrepancies it could easily be catapulted into cult status in years to come! Not a term I would use lightly.

Anything these guys do in future I will certainly watch!!!!
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Well worked top story ..exciting new talent
markpreston6615 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
For a film made on a micro budget...a great story from start to finish wonderful cast and crew made a great tale a memorable one ... Top job everyone a most enjoyable movie...I'm getting extra copies for friends and family...wonderful performances from Chris bell, jimmy the b,mark Windham,mark Preston ,mark s to name but a few and action packed,more than some big budget films , I for one will be watching for the next film from this talented team,will it be a sequel or a whole new story...with a bigger budget it can only get better well done once more all involved..a proper boys action film great to watch before or after the match...seen it four times already
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Quite Good
Leeryder200217 April 2015
I've seen better quality films but I didn't think this was too bad. I liked the fact the gangster bits were set around London and not always at a football match (in fact there is no football mentioned in the entire film) and the war stuff was OK but some of it was pointless (walking round a field).

I do enjoy watching low budget films and by reading other people's opinions as well they didn't have much budget so fair play

Acting was good from the main cast, some of the others let it down a bit though.

Gonna give it 7/10 as it did make me laugh a few times with the mask bit and the cab bit and also enjoyed the battle and fights

Would have been better if made with better equipment though
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One to watch.
craigwyting-157-77536115 April 2015
I have total respect and admiration for Chris Bell, knowing what its like to produce on a zero or shoe string budget, its never going to be perfect and mistakes made may not be able to be rectified in the final cut, but that is no reason not to go ahead with the distribution.

Chris produced this film in a very short time scale that was placed upon him and I know he worked endlessly with cast and crew to do what in the end, when it comes down to the nuts and bolts a lot of hard work. He is to be congratulated on his steadfastness to start a project and get it done, not many at our level can say the same.

Hooligan / thug type films are not my thing, these story lines usually follow a pattern, but this had a nice little twist towards the end, that made me curious to know what could possible happen next, something I look forward to finding out.

Colour grading was a little patchy and I would have liked to have seen it in full colour, taking it down to black and white and the use of pastels in areas did nothing for me, it was more of an unnecessary distraction than anything, but I know the effect he was after so it did not take my mind off the story line.

I really like the mood in places, the hard mean and outspoken slang and body language blending in well with the surroundings, heightening the levels of the atmosphere in the scenes.

There was at times a seriousness in the pace of the action as well as comedy, time for reflection and family life and some scenes that brought the gangland culture to the heights of real life, that made me realise we are all human and no matter your life style we all have to put up with these demons, so there was a sense of normality within the script and I liked that. The named characters fitted in, well chosen and you can see why he made those choices from his cast.

I liked the use of the various locations, you can relate to the gangland culture to these places and they fitted in very well and were used to the productions advantage.

At the end of the day its about budget, but its also about the individual and his will to succeed, Chris Bell is a hard worker and given the budget his ideas can only in time be better rewarded.

Well done to all involved its a film produced with hard work, work that is underestimated by those who easily criticise and never truly understand what it takes.

There is a future for this film maker and I hope he never stops pursuing making films that obviously so many enjoy.

Overall I enjoyed the film, like I said not my thing as a theme, so for me to see it through to the end means it kept my attention throughout and if it did that then I'm more than happy to recommend it to others.

A film from An enthusiastic hard working up and coming film maker that is Chris Bell
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markstedman2415 April 2015
I would like to point out that Theo's negative review is a bit harsh, get off your backside and make a better film with the same budget!! One can see there was no budget involved and was definitely more blood, sweat and tears to get it to where it is today! A little understanding is needed before finger to keyboard and writing negative reviews!!

It's got all the ingredients, with the right budget and a few tweaks, to be a classic hooligan film. If Chris Bell can get up and make a film then there is nothing stopping anyone doing it!! Armchair critics I challenge you to make a feature film of the highest quality on no budget!

I take my hat off to those who have the determination and most of all passion to make a film.

10 out of 10 for shear determination!

Well done all!!!
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Well Done Boys!
jemimaslade-0283923 April 2015
Having been invited to go to the Premier of this film by Chris Bell I was so excited considering this was my first one of walking down the red carpet. Thought it was excellent that they managed to get a showing at Vue Cinemas which is a feat in itself. I thought the promotion, trailer and poster for the film were absolutely outstanding and professional.

The atmosphere at the premier was very high spirited with most the main actors there. Steven and Chris did a mighty fine job of introducing the film and explaining the unbelievable budget that was spent on the making of this film. I loved the voice over freeze frame and the text up on the screen in the army scenes. I felt the film could have flowed a bit better but bearing in mind that the filming was started 5 years ago this is a valid explanation for this. All in all this was a fantastic effort from all the crew and actors involved and I can't wait to watch their next film!!
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