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The Rematch: The Football Factory vs The Hooligan Factory

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1THE FOOTBALL FACTORY

(2004) ★★½

Danny Dyer – nah, nah, hang about, give the boy a chance… Danny is part of the Chelsea ‘firm’ innit: “Tottenham away – love it. What else you gonna do Saturdays?” Bored. Beered up. Not too bright. Vocabulary none too extensive. But it’s colourful. Little Englanders summed up by racist local cabbie Jamie Forman. The gang’s leader is 40-year-old florist Frank Harper, a psycho bully with a sadistic streak. The music suggests we should feel pity for Danny – who’s having doubts thanks to bad-omen dreams – when he takes a beating. I’m not so sure about that. In any case, the mystical dream sequences sit uneasily with the affrays of the heart. There’s not a single frame of the beautiful game in it (innit?), although Peter Osgood is briefly glimpsed on TV. Not much of a tribute. Inevitably, perhaps, it’s unedifying stuff. Nick Love, director of The Business and the 2012 Sweeney remake, has pretty much made a career out of the like. At least it makes more sense than Elijah Wood’s West Ham argy-bargy Green Street. Nothing in any of them, though, compares to Alan Clarke’s clear-eyed look at Enger-land’s booted-and-suited yob culture in the 1988 TV movie The Firm, starring Gary Oldman. Funnily enough, Love remade that, too. To a chorus of boos in 2009.

Certificate: 18

2The Hooligan Factory

(2014) ★½

Kickoff’s Jason Maza is Danny, dying to team up with legendary bovver-boy Dex on his release from the Scrubs. To a chorus of booze. In the company of Trumpet and Weasel and Tom Burke’s Bullet, Dex’s new Firm is going to revive the 80s ‘glory’ days. Strictly for laughs, like, because football’s a funny old game, right? Director and co-writer Nick Nevern is Dex, the same name, of course, as the character played by Gary Oldman in Alan Clarke’s The Firm back in the day. Nevern’s deliberately ridiculous parody is aimed more at the 21st century reboots, and he’s certainly got the moves down pat. So he should, after acting in the Brit-flick likes of Rise & Fall of a White Collar Hooligan and White Collar Hooligan 2. Not to mention The Hooligan Wars and The Fall of the Essex Boys. A discreet veil can be drawn over Strippers vs Werewolves, but credit him for branching out, kind of. Strippers are widely on display in this one, too. Probably why Danny Dyer agreed to a cameo. Nah, nah, come on – lay off the lad.

Certificate: 15