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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 19 May 2008
Past years have seen one or two football violence related movies; The Football Factory, Green Street, together with numerous hardcore violent British Gangster flicks; Gangster No.1, The Business, Layer Cake etc.
This film, partially based on 1995 true events, melds these two genres together to form a critical mass!
There's no getting away, that this is a shocking & at times disturbing film. The football hooligan scenes are even more violent than either Green Street or Football Factory (Once again, West Ham v Millwall), and as we move into Gangland waters, there are scenes of torture that rival either of the Hostel movies! People are stabbed, bitten, beaten & there's some very graphic gunplay. Oh, lest we forget - fingers hacked off, teeth pulled out with pliers and an all over crucifixion! The only film of it's type to rival these shocking scenes is the horrifying Gangster No.1!
It's also completeley foul-mouthed from start to finish - with the now customary excessive use of the C-word.
Also, there's some very scantily dressed ladies on show, usually draped across Craig Fairbrass (who seems to revel in the role of loose cannon Pat Tate).
I can almost guarantee the appeal of this to many people - I enjoyed it - All of us like to look at the dark side of life, but this is a world that 99.9% of us would never want to experience!
It's well directed, with capable performances all around. Parallels could be drawn between central performer Ricci Harnett as the infamous ICF General/organised criminal, Carlton Leach & Ray Liotta's acclaimed performance in Goodfellas. I'm not saying the quality is the same but Scorsese's film has clearly inspired. As in Football Factory, Gangster No.1 etc, we have the voice over throughout the film, and it's one of the better examples.
I really liked the cinematography & the editing - far less of the 'music video' feel that often blights many Brit films at the moment!
And how can you knock a movie that gives us football punch ups to the sound of Motorhead's We Are The Road Crew!!
I have to say I thought it was a better movie than Nick Love's Outlaw which had the potential to be so much more.
This is just a good film to have some mates around, crack open a few cans and see who looks away first!
Definiteley not one for the girlfriends...
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on 17 May 2008
Avoid this film if you don't like visceral, gratuitous violence presented with a bone-crunching sense of reality by very disagreeable and highly dysfunctional people cranked up on booze, coke and steroids. Apart from that I have to reluctantly concede that this unpleasant British film is well made and well acted, with a menace and power that similar American films simply can't equal. Based on real events, the film portrays the rise of dedicated football thugs from the tribal terraces to the lofty heights of Essex nightclubs, vacuous blondes, and serious crime. Eventually it all goes wrong - or went wrong, because the conclusion to the film ended up in the newspapers of the day, and it seems we're still not sure if the right people were sent to prison for the final bloody crimes. Strong, well-executed (pun intended), and drenched in poisonous testosterone, this film is not only rabid in nature, it could also be upsetting to those of a sensitive disposition. Worth checking out, then.
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on 3 January 2013
The film will always get 5 stars from me, but the current 4 stars is for this edition.
Now you all must by now know what this film is about so won't go into plots; and I will also not explain what new scenes their are purely that don't want to ruin it for anyone.
Question your probably wondering is do the new scenes add to the film?
Yes and no their are a few scenes that look a bit put on just for the fun of it.
Though some scenes where added and the narration removed which gave the film a better edge, the beginning of the film has an added element to it. Which I liked.
worth it for a die hard fan of Rise of the Footsoldier? yeah I think it is, the steel book cover is nice not the best;
so worth getting yeah I would say so.
But I would keep the original as well.
I know this will probably be a useless review as Didn't want to get into the whole new scenes. but the film holds an extra 20 minutes of footage and re-edits. most of the scenes are good just don't think it adds to it as if this edition never came out wouldn't be a bad thing. That being said if you are a fan or huge fan of the film this edition would be worth getting; as with the good additions are worth the purchase the bad ones can be ignored as very short in length.
new commentary by Julian Gibney and Terry Stone, and a new interview With Julian Gibney who talks about his decision to release the film again and the new scenes
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on 29 August 2007
Let's face it; Reservoir Dogs wasn't so much a movie about a diamond heist gone wrong as it was about a gang of actors that wanted to be Lee Marvin. Rise of the Footsoldier (Released 7th of September) is nothing more or less than a bunch of Scorsese fanatics who wished they'd been in Goodfellas - and be fair, who wouldn't?

`Footsoldier' is a gangster film - pure and simple. "Professional" Football hooligans the I.C.F (Inner City Firm) have met their nemesis with a spate of high profile arrests. With the emergence of the `rave' scene of the late 80's they recognise the lucre generating possibilities of the new counter culture; get `loved up', `steam' the groovy train and swap their Stanley knives and knuckle dusters for smiley T. Shirts, Kickers and eh... shotguns. Quickly establishing themselves as major `faces' in the Essex underworld, it isn't long before these Knights of the glass table are running their cocaine Camelot through a gamut of girls, guns and high friends in dangerous places.

Based on a real life1995 `hit' which rendered three of those `face's blown off at a secluded dirt track in Retterdon, the cinematic possibilities of what is now known as `The Range Rover Killings' has not been lost on movie land. The semi fictional Essex Boys (2000) took its cue from this pivotal event in gangland history but `Footsoldier' is a more authentic account, retaining the facts and the actual characters as recounted in `Muscle', the book written by one of the surviving members of the gang Carlton Leach, played here by a shark eyed Ricci Harnett.

`Footsoldier' also boasts an impressive array of T.V tough guys including Ex-Eastender's Bill Murray and Craig Fairbrass, whose soap appearances had hitherto had me scrambling for the off switch. Both are excellent here, with Murray exuding menace from every pore and Fairbrass chillingly convincing as the `roid' crazed Pat Tate. Mover and shaker Terry Stone has a face that suggests all the members of the Clash at once and follows his impressive turn in Gilby's last movie, the very excellent `Rollin' With The Nines' as Tony Tucker; a one man swear-a-thon sporting a syrup that looked liked it could have been a stunt double for Dougal in the Magic Roundabout.

Brandishing its Scorsese-isms loudly and proudly (sweeping crane shots, freeze frame voice overs etc) `Footsoldier' is no `feel good' film by any stretch. But there is much to enjoy from watching these guys `go ta woik' in a similar, but darker fashion to ensemble piece `Love, Honour & Obey' (Was I the only one that liked that film?!) or the aforementioned Reservoir Dogs. Perhaps not quite dislodging any of the unholy trinity of Get Carter, Brighton Rock and The Long Good Friday from their lofty throne, Rise of the Foot Soldier doesn't let up for a second and holds its own as a `balls out', `in yer face' thrill ride, and certainly a worthy addition to the `Grit Brit' gangster pantheon.

Adrian Stranik
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on 17 March 2008
This film is what it is a true reflection of the underworld violence and criminal activities of this nation, and anybody that don't believe what goes on need to get a reality check and watch this film. The acting the story was superb nothing short of brilliance for the film industry of this country. I can except that this is not everybody's cup of tea but I thought it was totally brilliant. This film kept me on the edge of my seat through out the 2 hours of film which felt like 2 minutes in my opinion this is a must see film. Well Done again to the british film industry and i salute you
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on 13 August 2009
No amount of cockney swaggering can mask the fact that this "film" was clearly written by a bet wetter with severe masculinity issues. It's only achievement is to somehow make 35 "actors" play one character. Of course that would only count if it was intentional not merely terrible. This is not good film-making. This does nothing for the British film industry other than prove how unimaginative it can be. This is a tepid and inept attempt to replicate Goodfellas. It may be based on a true story but that does nothing to mask the overall amateur dramatics of the piece.
In summary, if you want to witness 90 minutes of pointless brutality rent Rambo 4 as then you'll only have to tolerate one stereotypical cockney hardman.
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on 4 October 2010
Rise of the footsoldier is based on the true events of the Range Rover murders in Essex 1995. This film was an adaptation from the book written by Carlton Leach (former villain and friend to those murdered in '95) The story is based on the life of Carlton Leach, a former football hooligan turn from fighting in the terraces to becoming one of the most respected bouncers in Essex and London. His work then turns from protecting bars and clubs to protecting people and making sure illegal deals get done with no problems. Then people start to get greedy around him and things get a little out of control.

If you enjoyed films like the football factory, the firm and the long good friday then you'll love this. There are alot of familiar faces in the film too. This is not a film for people with weak stomachs or don't like swearing as the violence is quite brutal and the swearing is practically in every sentence.


* Commentary with Director Julian Gilbey and writer William Gilbey
* Filming the Footsoldier: The making of Rise of the Footsoldier [77mins]
* Interview with Carlton Leach
* Deleted and Extended scenes
* Auditions
* Out-takes
* Image gallery
* Trailer
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on 23 May 2014
Love this film and have watched it more than any other film, Craig fairbrass makes this film for me and plays the role of Pat Tate a larger than life character in more ways than one! This film is told from the view point of Carlton Leach who was big buddies with Tony Tucker and was obviously left shocked by the death of a close pal. It is a film that shows everything that greed money and drugs can do to normal people.
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on 24 November 2014
A prequal to Bonded by Blood.

It's gritty and violent with a triad of four letter words. If you know the story of the Rettendon Range Rover murders way back in December 1995, then this might be of interest to you I recommend you purchase Bonded by Blood to watch after Footsoldier.
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on 20 July 2011
As a film, ROTF lags severely in several areas. Sound quality is one, with some scenes very obviously having been dubbed over. The old adage about makeup is that it is best applied so that it cannot be seen, evidently the same applies with sound editing and audio overdubbing in particular. The story progression is handled fairly well, though the film cannot be blamed for the intellectually devoid nature of many of the scenes focusing on the protagonist's criminal life - this is no glamorous GoodFellas or Casino-style retrospective with sophisticated scams and shoulder-rubbing with power, but instead a look at the extremely grim culture of the British criminal underworld. To say much of the dialogue is guttural would be a grave understatement, as would praising some of the gratuitous violence on-screen which often seems to be lacking in depth beyond gore for the sake of gore - again, this is not to knock the film, as the harsh reality of the film's factual basis included many instances of this kind. Torturing people for reasons ranging from example-setting to simple paranoid rage appeared commonplace in Essex in the late 1980s. One perhaps subtle point the film makes in portraying the characters in such brash, ugly and lowly personas is demonstrating crime really does not pay in many regards - even after many years of grafting in the ecstasy trade, the Essex Boys are seen living in fairly drab suburban houses, albeit with the dining table covered with heroin paraphernalia rather than copies of the Daily Telegraph and Waitrose shopping bags. Their social lives remain fairly low-end on the enviable scale - one scene involving a revered associate being released back into society creates expectations of a lavish celebratory reception in a nightclub. We see instead a private 'welcome home' party thrown in a badly decorated and boring-looking function room that probably plays Saturday night host to fading B-stars of prior decades. This is most certainly not the tracking-shot Copacabana world that Scorsese showed Henry Hill enjoying in the Lucchese family. Nor the celebrity-glittered and cultural icon-dotted Swinging London of the Krays. From start to finish, the world inhabited by the principal characters of ROTF seems one not to be chosen if given the chance. Particularly if sitting in Range Rovers down a country lane on a cold night makes you nervous.

The film suffers somewhat from the company it keeps, perhaps mirroring the protagonist's own permanent lodging among the criminal cliques of society over twenty years, beginning as a West Ham-supporting professional hooligan, moving onto doorman and security manager before ending up a close associate of the Essex Boys drug syndicate. Case in point, after an impressive trailer on the film's first DVD for Shane Meadows' powerful period drama This is England, we are given a precursor to ROTF's quality by the other trailers - C and D-List movies which bombed at the box office or raised no sidebars at all when released on DVD. When watching how some of ROTF's scenes are executed - the execution scenes in particular, one might add - it can be clearly seen why the distributors have lumped the film in with some truly trashy cinema. This is perhaps unfair given the positive qualities that ROTF enjoys but the films promoted on the disc do not - chiefly some high-quality acting from supporting players, a rigorous but still believable crime plot and a very well done multiple-angle conclusion.

Ultimately, ROTF is not a bad film. It isn't particularly 'good' either, coming up somewhere between average and nearly-good. I'd give it a C+ or if I was feeling particularly charitable, a B-. I would definitely recommend this film to anyone interested in criminal history as well as film-making in itself, the second disc in the DVD set containing some excellent documentaries on the making of the film. Interviews with cast and crew are long and cover all the areas expected from behind-the-scenes features and a lot more. My particular favourite was a feature on 'Creating a Period Film', which I found very useful in my own production of a short period film. This may be a case of the DVD release being more satisfying than the film itself. In any case, I would buy it if you like crime, violence and laughing at how truly dreadful the mid-90s club scene looked. Don't shell out on a brand new copy, however, a decent used copy will be enough.
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