Full Disclosure, I have never seen a Rise of the Footsoldier film. I have heard of them and seen the DVD cases for them in a Poundland here and there over the years. But I’ve never dived head-first into a franchise until now. I know I am diving in at the deep end instead of starting in the kiddie’s pool with the first film but after seeing a trailer for this film when I saw Enter the Dragon, I wanted to check this out. The vibe of the trailer was gripping and had exhilarating moments. So, when I loaded up the film to check it out, I had no idea what to expect.
The film is about Pat Tate, based on the real-life Essex gangster of the same name, seeking revenge on the people who killed his loyal footsoldier. This Journey takes Pat out of his comfort zone as he must go from Essex to London. The plot is simple yet effective, but the film’s biggest weakness is present before the film starts. What I described is roughly what occurs throughout the 1-hour 52-minute runtime. The film doesn’t have enough meat on its bones to justify its runtime and you can feel it in certain scenes which just feel like they go on forever like they are deliberately paced slowly to justify their prescience in the film. I truly stand by the fact if this was a lean and mean 1 hour 30 it could have been an even more uneasy and thrilling journey.
There are moments of sheer raw and unfiltered violence that end with a good “See You Next Tuesday” that have you sitting on the edge of your seat. The whole final act is truly great and showcases how great of an actor Craig Fairbrass who is truly excellent in this film. There is a subtly in his performance that is present throughout that keeps you engaged and makes the character’s actions believable and by the end you want to see Pat Tate complete his journey of vengeance. It was also interesting to see how many British film and TV main stays appear throughout this film and everyone does a truly great job in the film.
With Vengeance comes violence and as mentioned before the film’s violence is raw and unfiltered. While it can be intense it never delves into poor taste or is done solely for shock value. The action is shot and edited well and while it’s not overly flashy it’s simple and effective. While there are not many action scenes when they occur, there are the best scenes in the film, and they are truly effective.
While it is not perfect Rise of the Footsoldier: Vengeance is a solid time and when the credits rolled, I started googling how to watch the other 5 films. It’s a solid and effective tale of vengeance that has some truly gripping scenes. It is raw, bloody and has a C-word-a-minute vibe that is truly British and is a refreshing film to see in our local cinema chains.