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WHAT THE BEX? A RUSTY HOOLIGAN REMAKE FROM NICK LOVE
on 27 March 2015
Nick Love mercifully gets away from the "saving the nation" vigilante dross of Outlaw to give us an everyday tale of housing estate life and hooliganism, with some rites of passage stuff thrown in. As in his much-slated, but pleasantly ludicrous, Costa del Crime romp, The Business, Nick goes all 80s on us, so we have background gags about exercise videos, while everyone is break-dancing when they're not cracking heads or getting handy with a Stanley knife. The sound-track kicks off, incongruously, with Soft Cell's Tainted Love, with plenty of Kool and the Gang to follow and (apologies to Paul Weller) Town Called Malice. Bring on the urban grit. In fairness to Nick Love, the Firm is a loving tribute to THE FIRM, from 20 years earlier. Directed by Alan Clarke, this was greeted at the time as the starkest and shrewdest cinematic take on football violence to date. Gary Oldman snarled and sizzled memorably as estate agent Bex. In truth, the original was an often dreary account of train excursions, stabbings and estate agent banter. Love brings very little that's new. Paul Anderson, seen more recently as dodgy avenger Piggy, dances liker a gangly pillock, but his Bex is not to be underestimated, part older brother, part borderline psycho. Everyone wants to be Bex's mate, but few come close. But fresh-faced Dom, played by Calum MacNab, somehow cuts it. Dom copes with the peer pressure, gets the right gear (trainers costs a fortune) uses the right slang and is invited to poorly planned 'meets' with rival firms. What a baptism. Dad, played by Eddie Webber, who lost his head to the Colombians in The Business, thinks Bex is a bad influence. Too right. Dom should have stuck with ginger Terry, who wants his old mate back. Don't ask for the quote about the tampon. Bex lets it all get too personal with gang rival Yeti, a shadow of the Phil Davis version from way back. You know the rest. Go watch Awaydays instead, or even the Factory.