2001 Running time: 99 Certificate: 15 Not yet rated
mean machine 1S

Synopsis

The all-action, don't-mess dream team of Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones knuckle down for this remake of the Burt Reynolds jailhouse sports smash The Longest Yard. Vinnie is well cast as a convicted footy star who must assemble a team of inmates to take on guv'nor David Hemmings' talentless prison officers XI. Don't expect many fair play awards from a comedy that keeps it simple but plays shin-splinteringly hard.

Director

  • Barry Skolnick

Cast

  • Vinnie Jones

  • David Hemmings

  • Jason Flemyng

  • Jason Statham

  • David Kelly

  • Danny Dyer

Review

This is the cinematic equivalent of ex-footballer Vinnie Jones stepping out at Wembley in an FA Cup Final.

He mumbled a few words but looked impressive in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, had a bit to say in Gone In Sixty Seconds and almost had a full part in Swordfish.

Here, the former star of football's Crazy Gang has to carry a whole movie and, to be fair, he pretty much pulls it off.

Vinnie is Danny Meehan, a former England captain who was brought down by match-fixing and a drunken assault on a police officer.

He is sentenced to three years and packed off to Longmarsh Prison, run by soccer-mad governor David Hemmings.

Hemmings has poured money into his side of prison officers without success, so he calls upon Danny to train the team with the goal of winning the league.

Siding with the governor would be a one-way ticket to prison hell, so Danny suggests putting together a team of cons to play against the guards in a pre-season warm-up.

With the help of Massive (Vas Blackwood), he begins a recruitment campaign - but runs into trouble with prison hardman Sykes (John Forgeham).

After a particularly bruising bare-knuckle fight with one of Sykes' henchmen, he wins his approval and consent to get his fellow cons on-side...but will it be enough to beat the screws?

This feels like a Bank Holiday special of The Bill and Porridge - a TV movie with big-screen aspirations.

Vinnie's not called upon to deliver any Bardish emoting but neither does he fall flat on his face.

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