Film Review: Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins

Reviewer: Maryam Philpott

Writers: Andrew Loveday and Nick Nevern

Director: Nick Nevern

With Craig Fairbrass, Keith Allen and Vinnie Jones in the cast you already know what kind of film this is going to be – hyped-up masculinity, guns, drug deals gone wrong, violence and plenty of sweary dialogue. And you wouldn’t be wrong. The latest in the Rise of the Footsoldier series, Origins circles back on itself to tell the story from a new angle with a prequel set in 1980s Essex about the formation of the notorious gang whose exploits have spawned four previous films.

Legit nightclub bouncer Tony Tucker has made Hollywoods the top dance destination, but he’s lured to a rival club run by Keith Allen’s Dave Simms, Tony is soon drawn into a violent culture. When a drugs war breaks out focused on the club, Tony begins to change and as the money rolls in, his ego spirals out of control, with consequences that change the participants forever.

Rule One for any self-respecting drugs baron is never get hooked on your own product and Andrew Loveday and Nick Nevern’s film is built around Tony’s journey, learning important business lessons the result of which leave him in a stronger position to begin the franchise back in the 2007 opening movie. And for all its posturing Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins is a decent watch, rattling along as well as any of its genre counterparts.

In fact, the British gangster movie we thought had died away when its poster boy Danny Dyer hung up his double-barrelled shot gun for a transformative role as soap‘s favourite landlord, and while Origins follows an established formular with montage, casual violence and blow-outs worthy of The Wolf of Wall Street, it just about fills its 1 hour and 45-minute running time with enough subplots, double-crosses and  laughable swagger to please its intended audience.

Being set in the late 80s means the film can lean into the misogyny that has always been a failing of these films with girls little more than badly treated appendages, needed to look sexy or be nagging waives – a role which Katie Jarvis actually makes more compelling than the script allows.  It’s a shame that the period setting lets the writers reinforce rather than challenge these tiresome interpretations of women and they need only look to Damon Beesley’s White Gold for powerful and savvy 80s-set female characters who give as good as they get.

In terms of performances, everyone does what they do best; Vinnie Jones is surprisingly the reasonable one, Craig Fairbrass as Pat is unpredictably violent, Keith Allen’s club owner is quickly out of his depth, while protagonist Terry Stone as Tony overcomes the obvious wig to be equally smug and hangdog as he becomes the architect of his own downfall.

Nevern is a safe pair of hands as director and while Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins has nothing new to say, nor will it disappoint those looking for a solid crime story from this unstoppable franchise.

Signature Entertainment presents Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins on digital platforms 29th November with DVD, Blu-Ray & 5 film box-set 6th December

The Reviews Hub Score:

Solid crime drama

The Reviews Hub - Film

The Reviews Hub Film Team is under the editorship of Maryam Philpott.

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