WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY
2014, dir: Sacha Bennett
Before I begin with my first review for 2015, I want to keep it short and sweet because Lord knows I can ramble, but I would like to thank everyone who has read, enjoyed, shared and supported my content on this very fine site. I am honoured to be part of The Cinephiliacs family and I look forward to contributing alongside some fine writers and cinephiles. Long may it continue!
With it being the start of a new year, I think it’s the perfect time to admit something… I have such a soft spot for (mostly straight to DVD) contemporary British crime, hooligan and gangster films. Sure, these films aren’t exactly high art, but who cares? What you get with a lot of these flicks is exactly what is advertised. You’re probably not going to experience a contender to the likes of Goodfellas, The Long Good Friday or Once Upon a Time in America, but you are going to experience a labour of love that showcases the cream of the crop of British independent cinema (well… not always, Full English Breakfast is more than a bit pony!) and see forgotten faces from the good old days of film and television. A name that readers should look out for is Jonathan Sothcott, one of the films main producers. Jonathan has many production credits under his belt, such as the fantastic Danny Dyer revenge thriller Vendetta. In which Dyer plays as a returning soldier who seeks revenge on the gang responsible for the death of his parents. Danny Dyer and fantastic don’t usually appear in the same sentence, but I am a massive fan of Dyer and Vendetta proves his naysayers (and Mark Kermode) wrong because it’s a very straight faced and brutal performance that is more Outlaw than Football Factory. I do love Football Factory though! OK, Danny Dyer doesn’t appear at all in the film I’m reviewing, but I wanted to defend him anyway! Back to the point, Sothcott has found success and shown us all that there is still worth in straight to DVD cinema and We Still Kill the Old Way is a shining example of that. If you are still reading, you have my upmost respect!
Let me paint you a picture. There’s a gang of ‘yoofs’ called the ‘E2’ gang terrorising the streets of London. Their latest victim is Charlie (Steven Berkoff), an old man returning home after birthday drinks who had the nerve of stopping them raping a young girl by the name of Lauren (Danny Dyer). Little do these thugs know that Charlie was a gangster himself back in the day. When Charlie’s brother Richie (Ian Ogilvy) finds out, he’s on the first private helicopter home to find out who’s behind his brothers death. To make matters worse for the E2 gang and their leader Aaron (Danny-Boy Hatchard), he’s enlisting the help of some his mates from the old days; Roy (D.C.I Burnside himself, Christopher Ellison), Arthur (James Cosmo) and ‘Butch’ (Tony Denham). It’s not all plain sailing however, as the by-the-book D.I Taylor (Alison Doody) doesn’t want an all out war between the old and new school. Yeah, it’s a fairly straight to the point storyline, some may uninspired, but it’s an unapologetic love letter to the old school gangsters of yesteryear. There are some minor twists and turns thrown in for good measure, but nothing too spectacular or confusing.
All in all, We Still Kill the Old Way is bloody good fun. Don’t get me wrong, some of the acting isn’t top notch and the dialogue often sounds awkward and unnatural (listen out for some really questionable ‘street’ accents and terminology), but you can’t really hold that against the film. It’s great seeing the likes of Christopher Ellison and James Cosmo sticking it to the youngsters terrorising London in often graphic ways. Ian Ogilvy is smooth, charming and really makes me want to revisit Return of the Saint. The old schoolers have great chemistry with the banter and humour spot on. Questionable accent aside, Danny-Boy Hatchard puts in a solid performance. In fact, I’d go as far to say, all the youngsters (I say youngsters, they seem to be in their mid to late teens) have a promising career ahead of them.
Listen slag, I know these sort of films aren’t to everyone’s tastes. Yeah, it is a sub-genre of contemporary British cinema that has been done to the death. Yes, a lot of these films go straight to DVD, but what some people don’t realise is that the British film industry needs these sorts of films to survive. A lot of successful careers have been forged because of films like this. Not only that, but it’s a damn entertaining film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I certainly had fun with this flick and would like to see more films with the old schoolers, there’s potential for at least a trilogy of films here. Give this a go if you can, you may actually have some fun!
We Still Kill the Old Way is available on VOD, DVD & Blu-ray from Anchor Bay.