21 years after Terry Winsor directed the film Essex Boys, the 11th film based in the world of the infamous Rettendon Range Rover Killings is about to be released. Whilst all of the 11 films aren’t from the same film series, one of the standout and frontrunners in the universe is the Rise Of The Footsoldier series. Rise Of The Footsoldier debuted its first film in 2007, with further instalments released in 2015, 2017, 2019, and now in 2021, we see the fifth movie from the franchise. This time the film has a new director (but not a newcomer to the series as he did appear in a role in the previous film Rise of the Footsoldier: Marbella) Mr Nick Nevern.
Whilst I have seen and enjoyed the previous entries in the Footsoldier series of films, I have to say (well I don’t HAVE to, but I want to) that the latest film Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins is by far my favourite of the films since Part 2 and Part 1. With the tone set by the 3rd film (Rise of the Footsoldier The Pat Tate Story (2017), the series left behind its darker tone, but kept the violence and harsh language and shifted more into a ‘lads on tour’ feel for the crime drama, which is fine, but wasn’t 100% the type of film that I craved for. This more lighthearted feel carried on into the 4th film ‘Marbella’ which was also a fine fun film but thankfully Director Nick Nevern has brought back the harder edge to the film and I for one very much welcome this move.
Not that the storylines are similar, but think about the Cesar Romero ‘Joker’ compared to the Joaquin Phoenix ‘Joker’ and you are headed in the direction of what I’m getting at with the tone change. Even though I’d have watched a lighter tone film, that would probably have been the last entry in the series I watched before moving on, ‘Origins’ has cemented my hope that there is another instalment to come and hopefully it will keep the same style as this entry in the franchise.
So what is Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins about? Well, we flashback in time to before some of the other instalments in the series and through the eyes mainly of Tony Tucker (Once again wonderfully played by Terry Stone) we see the formation of what would become known as ‘the Essex boys’ crime gang.
Starting in the early 80s, we see the return of some familiar faces, and we of course see some new additions to this franchise, among them is the wonderful Vinnie Jones, who plays Bernard O’Mahoney who is brought in by nightclub owner Dave Simms (played by Keith Allen) to help boost the takings and the popularity of his failing nightclub which seems to have fallen foul of some local thugs.
Bernard soon works out the best way to solve the issue and from there we see these criminal chess pieces brought together as the story unfolds to begin the creation of the Rise of the Footsoldier films that we know and love. Easily my favourite Vinnie Jones role of recent years and he must have had a blast filming his scenes.
Some of the other highlights for me on this film, are most definitely the move to bring Nick Nevern in to direct the film, (he also has a writing credit on the film along with Andrew Loveday) and whilst Nick has only directed a small number of projects, Nick comes to this film from an impressive background as a writer, as a director, and from what I know him most, an actor who has been in a huge range of films and will I’m sure have learned a ton, from his time on film sets, many of them set in the criminal world that isn’t a far reach from the world of ‘Origins’.
If the film company are planning on making more in this series, then here’s hoping that ‘Directed by Nick Nevern’ is something that is written on screen. There are also some wonderful smaller role additions to the film including Michelle Collins, Rachel Warren, and Sam Gittins which all help make up this fresh take on what could easily have been another entry into a routine film series but has thankfully turned into an absolute blast of a film that I highly recommend you check out, especially if you felt “oh not another one, hasn’t this all been done before?”. That’s how I felt before I watched the film and I was proven wrong and very very happy to have been so.
Signature Entertainment presents Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins on Digital now and DVD, Blu-Ray and 5 film boxset now available