Rise of the Footsoldier 3CultureCinemaMovie reviews
Gruff voices, sex, violence and drugs are the order of the day in Rise of the Footsoldier 3, the prequel to the Rise of the Footsoldier film franchise. Directed by Zackary Adler, the series is based on the real life gangland activities in Essex in the early 90s, particularly the horrific Rettendon murders. Par for the course, the movie features members of Brit crime thriller royalty such as Craig Fairbrass, Terry Stone and Roland Manookian, who have appeared in such titles as Bonded by Blood, RocknRolla, and St George’s Day. Fairbrass plays Pat Tate, who was brutally slain on 6th December 1995 alongside Tony Tucker and Craig Rolfe. Later dubbed the “Essex Boys”, their notoriety as ruthless career criminals led to several films being based on their story, most notably Essex Boys (2000) starring Sean Bean. Adler’s feature charts Pat Tate’s rise through the Essex and Spanish criminal underworld as he establishes himself as a vicious figure in the drugs trade.
As the film unfurls, it’s clear that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has no qualms about showcasing an immeasurable number of swear words, fighting, nudity and drugs. Because of this, (as well as some self-awareness) Rise of the Footsoldier 3 is not entirely unwatchable and has the occasional fun moment. It also helps that Fairbrass is a capable actor and makes for a believably brash and violent protagonist.
With that said, this over-reliance on vice makes the movie jarringly repetitive. Of course, a crime thriller needs a certain level of violence and immorality, especially one based on the life of a notorious drug dealer. However, the numerous scenes of viciousness and excess could be excused if they were delivered with impact, but for the most part they feel incredibly flat. After a while it seems like the filmmakers are just demonstrating how many ways they can portray a face being pummelled into a bloody mush. Characterisation is weak, and most characters can be summed up as just being “hard-as-nails” and crotchety.
The film is further hampered by pacing issues – some parts feel laborious and other moments, particularly the ending, seem rushed and half finished. Rise of the Footsoldier 3 is certainly not the worst crime thriller but ultimately it all feels a little pointless even if some elements of it are watchable.
Rise of the Footsoldier 3 is released in selected cinemas on 3rd November 2017.
Watch the trailer for Rise of the Footsoldier 3 here: