From the man who brought us Hooligans at War, Steven M Smith brings us Law of Survival. This is a film that totally eclipses the shambles that was the original hooligans movie that we previously reviewed here on Back to the Movies.
Law of Survival revolves around Danny (Chris Bell) an ex thug who’s life is blown apart after the death of his girlfriend and he attempts to revenge her death by hunting down the thugs who killed her.
I’m pleased to say that Law of Survival really is a change of pace from Hooligans At War in the sense that I was expecting the same shoddy camera work, awful mic setup and just terrible phone camera style footage with a script that lacked any depth or emotion to match. Law of Survival proved me wrong by showing me that you can re-enact a script on an incredibly low shoe string budget and at least recollect some dignity from an appauling product that was Hooligans At War.
Law of Survival is by no means perfect, far from, there are still problems with the camera work and quality that make me wonder if Poundland are currently having a half price sale on with a free lighting system! The film seems to jump between a higher quality camera and a second B camera that looks like a very cheap hand-held or low-end product, this mild annoyance is only exaggerated by choppy, un-explained and amateur editing but it’s easily over-looked once you start getting into the story.
The script flows quite smoothly, there are many scenes within the movie that could of easily been cut to help the story progress but as a whole you care about the characters to some extent, the story holds its own and you are mildly intrigued to find out if Danny gets the revenge that he so rightly deserves.
Most of the acting in the movie is what you’d expect, awful. There are some stand-out performances that shine much brighter than others thou, those of which include the following:
Chris Bell shines through as a bright talent, he holds down the lead role quite comfortably but something just feels missing, Chris shows that he has some real talent there but at times it fades in and out with some scenes being strong and then followed by others which are disappointing. Never the less Chris displays a range of emotions and his driven nature shines through very strongly.
Abbie Steele plays Danny’s girflriend in the film, she is only present for a small duration but she really caught my attention. Her performance was short, precise, emotive and was one of the only characters within the story that I cared about and genuinely felt emotion towards.
Jesse Birdsall is a name you may recognise from Hollyoaks, he plays a character by the name of Hemp, now credit where credit is due and you can tell Jesse has a strong acting background, he was one menacing son of a bitch and full credit to him for portraying his character so well.
Finally Ross Boatman and Megan Lockhurst, Ross plays Franks a corrupt copper who murders Danny’s girlfriend as he is hell bent on controlling the criminal underworld and Megan Lockhurst plays Judy, Frank’s wife with a hidden agenda. Both of these characters roles on screen were fantastic… when they were not together. They may be the most mis-matched couple in on-screen history, Judy looked more like Frank’s daughter than his wife and their on screen ‘chemistry’ was non-existant and made me shudder on numerous occasions. For me this relationship didn’t gel what so ever and I was hoping and praying their screen-time together would be minimal and thankfully it was. So with that over-sight, Ross and Megan both did well within their own individual scenes, particularly Megan who in a car scene with Danny (Chris Bell) delivered one of the best dialogues I’ve seen in a shoe string budget film for quite some time, I would even go as far as saying that may of been improvised as it flowed so smoothly and naturally and never felt forced.
Law of Survival is by no means a great movie, it has its flaws and will be confined to a B movie bargain basket. It has some strange edited cuts and questionable fight scenes including some out of time punching sound effects that made me laugh rather than winch in sympathy pains, BUT what it does have is heart and credit for even attempting this kind of flick on a shoe-string budget.
It has passion, it has drive and gives us an insightful glimpse into the gritty criminal underworld, but I won’t be picking it up on the shelves anytime soon, the film is what it is.. poor and I’m hoping and praying that now each installment seems to be getting better that Essex boys 45 will be an AMAZING movie.
On a final note any gangster film that has Carlton Leech in it’s intro is going to be alright with me, purely because if I disagree I sure as hell don’t want that fella knocking on my door!
Law of Survival is OUT NOW courtesy of Metrodome Distribution.