Let me make this plain, I knew this was going to be bad, but I probably only really realised how dire it would be when the opening credits proclaimed a 'special guest appearance' by Adele Silva.
Anyway, once the eye rolling and chuckling from that subsided (the former soap star with the face like a slapped arse has just the one scene in the first few minutes by the way, being terrorised on some council estate) I settled down to see if this could legitimately find its way into the 'so bad it's good' territory.
We Still Kill The Old Way is a Daily Mail reader's dream. The demonisation of this countries youth continues in the same vein as the more enjoyable Harry Brown, depicting a feral gang of drug dealing, raping juveniles who, if they bore the mark 666 upon their bodies and drank the fresh blood of slain virgins during the proceedings, you wouldn't be at all surprised. The philosophy of We Still Kill The Old Way is plain for all to see; the country is fucked, the young are morally lacking, ruthless villains with no respect for anyone whatsoever, especially women or their elders, and the only response to this blight is for these elders to be harder and more violent than them. This is a film for every boneheaded prat who ever uttered the phrase 'The streets were a safer place when The Krays were around', as stupid a comment as 'Say what you want about Mussolini, but at least he got the trains running on time'. The film seems determined to explain there's a difference between the murdering thugs of the 1960s and those who terrorise the film's estates today, but as far as I can see the only difference is the former wear suits and the latter, hoodies. The scene with Adele Silva, that oh so special guest star, depicts the hoodies threatening to throw her baby off the top of the tower block. This, we're lead to believe, is not what the old school would do. Well, wrong. I actually used to go out with a girl whose father used to do a bit of business for a person I shan't name back in the 1970s (but whose biographies will feature in many a true crime section at your local Waterstones) My ex's dad walked away from the game when he was told to throw a rival's infant child off a tower block. Not threaten to, throw. Actually throw.
There was nothing chivalrous about the gangland of yesteryear, let me tell you.
The film even has a character whose sole role is to specifically spout this kind of crap about 'the good old days'. She's played by '80s glamour puss Lysette Anthony though frankly I'd double check; she looks like Bambi's dead mum, albeit Bambi's dead mum having been dug up and - in the spirit of this ugly film - shot once again. I'm not sure if this is one of the worst performances I have ever seen or one of the best; her character looks, acts and sounds like one of the panel from TV's Loose Women whose been at the gin and got on to talking crime and politics. She seems to always be a shallow breath away from explaining why she's voting UKIP next time around. It's irritating, stupid but sadly all too convincing.
Anthony's not the only one whose glamour has sadly faded since their heyday. Alison Doody from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, A View To A Kill and Taffin appears as the world's least believable cop looking like she's perpetually trapped in a wind tunnel. And if you think I'm being unfair and sexist here by concentrating on the looks of the female cast then take a look at that poster at the top of this review - those faces actually belong to, from left to right, Chris Ellison, Ian Ogilvy, James Cosmo and some bloke off The Football Factory (I'm pretty sure even his agent calls him that. Hell, I'm willing to bet his next of kin calls him that too) they are not, as one could be forgiven for thinking, a selection of rubbery latex masks and monkey gland injections.
Actually to be fair Ogilvy looks OK for 71, which is just as well as the former 'Get me Roger Moore-what, he wants how much?-Get me Ian Ogilvy' still can't really act. His inability to convince beyond the 'Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be Roger Moore' style is a major issue for a film in which he's expected to carry, or at least it would be if the film in question wasn't already sunk. Mind you, he isn't given anything approaching a character beyond having OCD and the half arsed motivation of avenging his brother's death at the hands of these 'chavs' (I hate that word by the way) The brother in question is played by Steven Berkoff who delivers this small cameo with his customary scene chewing aplomb that its actually a shame he's offed so soon as he at least enlivens the proceedings.
The script is terrible, littered with cliches it could be written by anyone who has never experienced life for themselves. In fact, if you were to tell me that the people who wrote this script (I think there's four guilty suspects responsible for this garbage) have never left their homes because they live in fear of what they read in the Daily Mail I would believe you completely, because that would explain a lot. It's disgraceful that a film in this day and age treats the act of gang rape as nothing more than a plot point to get the narrative going. This is the fate that befalls a character played by Dani Dyer, daughter of the illustriously awful Danny Dyer, yet there is nothing in her performance (which is poor, obviously) or the script (which is worse, obviously) that suggests she has suffered either physically or mentally from this ordeal. Indeed, she spends the rest of the film falling for the one guy in the gang who held off from sexually assaulting her. Aw, that's true love right there hun. And don't even start me on the final shoot out which takes place in a hospital like its the ultimate jumping-the-shark episode of Casualty, except the script suspiciously forgets the fact that most British NHS hospitals have things like staff and patients in them.
The direction by Sacha Bennett (who also had a hand in the script) is just as bad. There's a scene in a pub, at Berkoff's wake, where Doody and Ogilvy share a scene in which Bennett does nothing but spin the camera around them. I'm not sure what he was trying to do here, beyond inducing dizzy spells in its audience or allowing Ogilvy to show off his impressive full head of hair.
All in all no one comes out of We Still Kill The Old Way smelling of roses. James Cosmo comes close as a knuckleheaded old enforcer whose hoarse cackling at every element of torture and violence they impose at least suggests gangsters have always been psychotic cunts, but it's not much really. The film even manages to sully the memory of a favourite of mine, The Italian Job, by suggesting it was Berkoff, Ogilvy et al who had it off with some gold from Turin in '69 in the film's closing scene which also ends on the line "I've got a great idea" And sure enough, they do have an idea - to bring them back (minus Cosmo, who perhaps saw sense) for a sequel, We Still Steal The Old Way, next year. Fuck knows why.