Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Review: Green Street Hooligans 2 (#CrapSequels)

World of Blackout: CRAP SEQUEL SEASON!

flms. srs bsns. We've all been there; Browsing in Blockbuster, the HMV sale or the bargain-DVD section in Sainsbury's, and we come across a plastic case which gives us an involuntary tingle of excitement. Someone's made a sequel to that movie we like! How did this slip under our radar? Why wasn't this on at our local cinema? Why are we only hearing about this now? Well, there's only one way to answer that question; it involves spending the requisite £3 and usually ends with the question 'Why did this get made, never mind how?'.

The rules for selection are as follows: 1) The film needs to be a poorly received sequel to a generally successful film (so no crap sequels to crap originals, and no crap remakes of originals), 2) Films from longer series are fine, but the choice needs to be part two of that line, 3) I'm not intending to watch any of the associated part-ones as part of this run (whether I'm familiar with them or not), so there'll be extra pressure on the crap sequel to work on its own terms. So join me as I delve into some of the crappest, most unwarranted follow-ups of all time (hopefully with a couple of underrated, misunderstood gems thrown in).

How bad can it be, right? I mean, the original was good…

CRAP SEQUELS! Green Street Hooligans 2: Stand Your Ground.

#CrapSequels: Green Street Hooligans 2: Stand Your Ground
Cert: 18 / 94 mins / Dir. Jesse Johnson
Year: 2009 (4 years after the first movie)

The general feeling: RT Score: [no rating] / IMDB Score: 4.9

This film was released in the same year as Watchmen. Think about that for a second. I suppose the problem with a low-budget, ill-considered prison drama is that when you hire actors who look like thugs, you cut down massively on the average percentage of them who can actually act. It leaves you with the sort of extras who'll be fine milling around in the background of a prison corridor with a mop, but when it comes to dialogue? Forget it.

Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground is a follow-up to a film which starred Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani and Marc Warren. None of these names are in the credits for the sequel (not that they're Sir Laurence Olivier, by any means, but think of how far down the ladder we've gone). As I haven't seen Green Street, I can only surmise that this return to the story follows the only surviving character, 'Dave' (not that's how you name a lead character) during his time in prison following arrest for football hooliganism, along with his two best mates who inexplicably weren't in the previous film (or so I'm informed by the IMDB). The opening scenes show the three protagonists already in the nick and being transferred to another prison in a bid to break up a firm. Y'know, by transferring them to another place where they'll get to share a cell. Or something.

And what a tawdry, vindictive and crucially shoddily-constructed piece of straight-to-DVD entertainment it is.

A film for an audience who see no layered irony in Al Murray's Pub Landlord character, this is like a car crash between Prisoner Cell Block H and Grange Hill. The gleefully enthusiastic violence erupts every six minutes or so, each melee more tediously provocative than the last, with only handheld cameras and choppy editing to prevent the viewer from actually seeing what's meant to be happening in the close-up shots. The long-shots however, often feature an array of unnamed extras standing around waiting for other unnamed extras to hit them so that they can start acting. The film feels like it's been written by someone who knows nothing about football hooligans, gangs or prison. And I say that as someone who knows nothing about football hooligans, gangs or prison.

Showing the hardened reality of life in a grim British jail by being filmed on location in sunny, dusty California, and casting performers whose accents suggest they hail from the London borough of Sydney, Green Street 2 is not for the picky. Or for anyone who's likely to think whilst watching it. The low-cost film stock suggests the air of one of those shonky old episodes of Minder, and the accompanying pantomime characters and script do their damnedest to push every button in eliciting a reaction other than the rolling of eyes.

The echoing hallways, jangling keys and near constant swearing are occasionally punctuated by some sloppy, rowdy punk or hardcore for no real reason whatsoever (like when it's bedded over a dialogue scene, or shots of nothing actually happening). In its 68th painful minute the film decides it's going to try and be Escape To Victory, with the last minute addition of an inter-gang football match, the winners of which will be prematurely released from prison. No, fucking really. This is a scheme cooked up by the prison governor himself. Not the one who decided to split up a gang by keeping them together, but the next one down that chain of seeming ineptitude.

But like all the worst sequels, for all its wanton profanity, violence and mayhem, Green Street 2 is just staggeringly boring.

And feel for the performers. They thought an added extra would be the product placement deal the film's producers had secured with a brewery! You can see the bitter, disbelieving disappointment in their eyes as they have to pretend they're enjoying those 330ml cans of Heineken...

Have you seen this before??
I haven't, no.

…but have you seen the original movie?
I haven't, no.

Do I have to have seen the original movie?
Well, it should work as a standalone prison-drama, but it'd have to work as a decent screenplay first…

How many of the original film's stars returned?
Ross McCall is back as Dave. That's about it.

Worth expanding into threequel territory?
Based on this, hardly. Although they did anyway.

Rent it, stream it, or wait for it to be on TV?
I pity the state of your TV's EPG when Green Street Hooligans 2 is the best thing worth watching…

Ah, but is there a Wilhelm Scream?
Not that I heard.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
Are you happy now, Daniel? Are you happy?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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