When Martin Luxford (Hugo Speer) leaves jail, he decides to form a swing band, having been taught to play the saxophone by his cellmate Jack. Returning to his native Liverpool, Martin pulls together a backing band of misfits and loners, and recruits his ex-girlfriend Joan (Lisa Stansfield) as a singer. Things are complicated somewhat by the fact that Joan is now married to the policeman who arrested Martin, and when the band's first gig - at a heavy metal pub - goes badly, it seems as though the road to musical success may be a rocky one.
is the good-natured tale of a Liverpudlian ex-con who decides to make a new life for himself as the leader of a swing band. When we are first introduced to Martin (The Full Monty
's Hugo Speer), he is being released from prison, where he did time out of loyalty to his wayward brother, Liam. His cellmate, Jack, a shell suit-wearing, dreadlocked sax player who looks suspiciously like Clarence Clemons (because he is), inspired Martin to make swing his vocation and serves as his conscience throughout the film. This is a good thing, because nobody else seems to think he can pull it off, including his ex-girlfriend, Joan (Lisa Stansfield), now married to the cop that put him away and his own parents (nicely played by veteran British actors Rita Tushingham and Tom Bell). Joan has missed singing, however and eventually decides to join Martin's band, along with a soccer-loving bass player, skinhead drummer, and horn section of Orange Brigades led by The Young Ones
' Alexei Sayle.
Speer isn't the most dynamic actor but generates the appropriate degree of sympathy and works well with pop vocalist Stansfield, who acquits herself nicely in her feature film debut. She also sings several numbers, including "Mack the Knife" and "Baby, I Need Your Loving" both of which can be found on the motion picture soundtrack. If Swing doesn't ever hit the heights of The Blues Brothers or The Commitments, it keeps the beat more often than not. --Kathleen C Fennessy, Amazon.com