Not your usual suspects
Running Time: 98 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Country: United Kingdom, United States
Guy Ritchie used Vinnie Jones in Lock, Stock, etc, Snatch and now, as producer, hes given him his first proper starring role in Mean Machine. So its fair to say he sees something in the sometimes-Welsh football hardmans attempts at thespianism. Either that or the Vinsters got some embarrassing snaps of Guys missus and hes holding him to ransom over them. Then again, weve all seen those pics already, so it cant be that.
In this remake of 1974s The Longest Yard, the V-Man plays Danny Mean Machine Meehan, the one-time England football captain now serving time for drunken assault on a couple of policemen. The films already got one-up on the original version (which had Burt Reynolds in the lead), thanks to its decision to replace American football with a proper sport. But it does little else to alter the formula of a picture which was fairly well-received Stateside, if relatively unknown on these shores.
The plots about as predictable as it gets, with Meehan agreeing to coach and captain a cons select against the semi-crooked prison guards. Various inner-wranglings, including the usual array of attempts at match-fixing, shower-room punch-ups and comedy training sessions all find their way into the proceedings before the requisite end-of-film showdown.
The boy Vinnie pulls off his part well its difficult to think of anyone else so perfectly suited to the role. In fact its a decent ensemble all-round, with Kit-Kat man Jason Statham stealing his moments as the gruff-voiced Glaswegian goalie who word has it could have turned pro, before he turned mad. Others you might recognise from various other Brit productions include Danny Human Traffic Dyer, David Waking Ned Kelly and Robbie Desmonds Gee.
Theres a bit of fairly graphic violence here and there, but the bulk of its done purely for comedy some of which works and some of which doesnt. This isnt going to win any awards for originality, and as is generally the case with football films the match scenes just dont look right (you can tell theyre all acting, not playing). But its enjoyable enough, and football fans in particular will get a few laughs out of it. Admittedly those laughs arent always produced in the right places, but its better than nothing.
It's Got: A prison Governor with a nasty betting habit and even nastier eyebrows.
It Needs: The cons team to wear strips with arrows on them. Dont prisoners ever wear stuff like that any more?
DVD Extras None DVD Extras Rating: 0/10
Not a classic but, as Burt Reynolds remakes go, it could be much worse we could have Vinnie in a new Smokey and the Bandit.