After the poorly received attempt by the film adaptation of John King’s “Football Factory” to cast real life football hoolligans playing variations of themselves, Word’s Jim White has few kind words for the forthcoming “Green Street”.
Hollywood has taken its time making a movie about what was once known as the British Disease. What lost opportunities there have been over the years bringing big names to bear on rampant yobbery. Wouldn’t it have been great to see Sean Connery leading a Rangers razor mob, or Richard Harris taking on all comers in Leeds colours, or if you wanted some real threat, why not Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel doing a turn as the Chelsea Headhunters. Never would phrases like “we’re going to their place mob-handed” or “all due respect to Portsmouth, they was well game” have been rendered more chilling.
Sadly only now, 30 years since Doc’s Red Army terrorised the market towns of England, 20 years on from Heysel, 18 years since the wonderful Alan Clarke television film “The Firm”, has Hollywood finally realised what potential riches lie in the subject. And then, when they at last turn their attentions to the Stanley Knife-wielders, they’ve gone and made Elijah Wood their top boy. It’s a bit like filming a drama about American football and choosing Charles Hawtrey as your star linebacker. As Gary Oldham’s Bex, the sneering, spume-flecked psychopathic centre of “The Firm” might have put it: “you’re have a laugh, incha?” And, the first time Wood strikes a rival hooligan, with the sort of swinging, comedy haymaker that would have looked too ridiculous in “Blazing Saddles”, that is all you can do : laugh.