by Chris Banks
Rise of the Footsoldier 3: The Pat Tate Story, which presumably went by the work-in-progress moniker of Bad Slags, appears to exist in a parallel universe. A universe in which it is still acceptable to churn out tawdry, sub-Lock Stock crime dreck in the mould of Rancid Aluminium or Essex Boys. It is so comprehensively dreadful, so amateurishly conceived and executed and so wholly condemning of British gangster movies as a genre, that it simultaneously makes rubbish like The Business seem inspired and movies you’d previously enjoyed like The Long Good Friday or Sexy Beast seem tainted by association and damned for their inspiration.
It is a grubby, witless and tediously violent farce that begins looking and sounding like a listless run-through of the cliché book of tiresome cockney shit, before undergoing such a wholesale and complete degradation in its meagre quality that, by the end, you feel in your bones that it must, absolutely must, be a joke.
The plot is mostly irrelevant as the movie functions as little more than one long montage of punching, swearing, torture, banter and drug taking, to the overbearing beat of a dozen 80’s and 90’s floorfillers. In basic terms, it involves the varying fortunes of career criminal Pat Tate as he looks to set himself up with a big drugs score and live out his low-hanging dreams of parochial criminality. It’s loosely spun-off from a Carlton Leach autobiography and begins with a note explaining that it draws inspiration from real-life events. But, such is its unrestrained sense of idiocy and totally unbelievable air of buffoonery, it feels like it must bear as much resemblance to any actual career criminal activity as Tom & Jerry would bear to a nature documentary.
There’s a consistent, and consistently-grating, tone-deaf feeling of utter stupidity romping through every scene. Every second, every childish moment celebrating a casual sexual encounter or a drug abuse or a smashing-of-a-man’s-hand feels like it was conceived by a gang of sixth-formers hiding behind the bike sheds, huddled around a porno mag, illicitly smoking their first cigarettes.
You can sense a smug feeling of self-satisfaction at every moment – as if everyone involved in its making was convinced they were crafting an exquisite piece of modern art akin to an estuary version of Goodfellas. The trouble is, there is not one discernible shred of irony or moment that is realised with any flourish or any sense of elegance, wit or flair.
It is a movie that considers it perfectly acceptable to present to its audience, straightfaced, Larry Lamb as a Costa del Crime gangster.
It is a movie in which, without irony, the lead character spews out lines like “I’m going to put Southend and Basildon on the map.” while describing the entire country of Spain as “…a fucking no good, cunting shithole” before racing through yet another interminable coke-snorting montage of tits and bums.
It has such an aching desperation to be stylish, that a scene spotlighting Shaun Ryder as a mob boss named Mad Dog, is followed by a door-smashing fight soundtracked to the Happy Mondays’ Loose Fit with a kind of winking, smirking obviousness that would be below Paul W.S. Anderson.
Rise of the Footsoldier 3: The Pat Tate Story exists to fill an after-pub niche of banter, kebabs and low-quality tinned lager. It will probably find a small audience interested in not much more than than the sight of men lustily referring to each other by nicknames like “Mickey the Fingers” or “Soppy Bollocks Alan” who belch along to the soundtrack, drinking two fingers for every mirthless utterance of the C-bomb.
Dir: Zackary Adler
Scr: Mike Loveday
Starring: Craig Fairbrass, Terry Stone, Larry Lamb, Shaun Ryder
Prd: Andrew Loveday, Michael Loveday, Tiernan Hanby
DOP: Luke Palmer
Music: James Edward Barker, Tim Despic
Runtime: 99 minutes