Main cast: Vinnie Jones (Danny), David Kelly (Doc), David Hemmings (Governor), Ralph Brown (Burton), Vas Blackwood (Massive), Robbie Gee (Trojan), Geoff Bell (Ratchett), John Forgeham (Sykes), Sally Phillips (Tracey), Danny Dyer (Billy the Limpet), Jason Flemyng (Bob Likely), Jason Statham (Monk), and Martin Wimbush (Z)
Director: Barry Skolnick
How apt, it’s World Cup Fever and I end up watching Mean Machine, a prison-and-football movie one fine evening.
Basically playing himself, Vinnie Jones plays a dirty violent footballer jailed for playing rigged matches. He finds himself leading a team of prisoners in a football match against the prison guard team. Since this is a movie made by the “New Gangster Wave” noir poseurs of British cinema (Guy Ritchie is the executive producer of this movie) and starred the usual staple actors (hello, Jason Statham!), expect lots of violence, dirty tricks from both teams, and a neat plot resolutions based on seemingly random events colliding head-on with hilarious results.
But the acting is mediocre, although Mr Jones does camp it up; it seems as if this movie was made during the lunch breaks of more “serious” projects the actors were committed to. The whole predictable schtick – hero wins, hero loses, hero wants to give up, Holy Swami Prisoner speaks, hero wins at the eleventh hour! – is here, and while the football matches are charged, adrenaline-overdose moments, Mean Machine looks like a movie made by the Bash Street Kids during one recess session. It’s so half-baked that it’s more of a halfway decent guilty pleasure.