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Rise of the Footsoldier: Extreme Edition (Film Review)

3 min read

Signature Entertainment

is a bloodier, more boob-filled re-release of the 2007 cult classic Rise of the Footsoldier. Before the series drove off the side of a cliff into Fast and Furious territory, when took over the series as a coked up anti-hero, Rise of the Footsoldier was about the gruesome true story of notorious Essex gangsters who met a grisly end in the mid 90's.

In Rise of the Footsoldier: Extreme Edition, Ricci Harnett stars as the real-life gangster, Cartlon Leach, a member of the infamous ICF football firm. After some success as a no-nonsense door man, he becomes muscle for hire for the criminal underworld. He serves as Rise of the Footsoldier: Extreme Edition's anchor and narrator throughout, a sort-of east London Henry Hill.

Signature Entertainment

Eventually he meets sleazy drug dealer and bodybuilder, Tony Tucker, played brilliantly by Terry Stone, but not so brilliantly by the horrible wig he wears throughout the film. They form a partnership and things go well. But when Tony's good friend and psychotic coke addict, Pat Tate, (Craig Fairbrass) is released from prison, their cocaine use and increasingly erratic decisions start drawing the attention of the police and rival gangsters.

The original release of Rise of the Footsoldier followed in the footsteps of the Football Factory school of British “gangster” movies; lots of swearing, tracksuits and groups of men fighting around London with their arms out like Orangutangs. It wasn't a sophisticated movie, but it was a fun one. In Rise of the Footsoldier: Extreme Edition the dial on the bottle-smashing, drug use, and sex is turned all the way up to 11, with several scenes bloodier and longer in length than the first. 

But the extremeness of this release doesn't bring any hidden gems or extended sequences that expand the story, just more the offcuts the BBFC probably thought were too violent at the time of release. There is a bit more sex, but it feels unnecessary and exploitative. Well more exploitative. The extra boobs aren't really used to show how large and out of control our characters were, but more to titillate the audience, which is fine (I am not here to kink shame), but it does lessen the impact of the overall story, especially in a low budget movie. It makes some scenes feel like soft-core porn.

Signature Entertainment

But what Rise of the Footsoldier: Extreme Edition does do is bring it more in line, tonally at least, with the later entries in the series, which is largely down to Craig Fairbrass' amazing depiction of the larger than life, Pat Tate that turned Rise of the Footsolider into a whole franchise. Those other films are incredibly violent and cartoonish, and I am 100% here for it. The most extreme stuff in Rise of the Footsoldier: Extreme Edition, usually involves Pat, either bouncing someone's head off a table or snorting cocaine off various parts of the human anatomy.

Rise of the Footsoldier: Extreme Edition is a lot of fun. It's loud, it's very crude and does have a few outstanding moments, especially for a low-budget British gangster film. But other than more Craig Fairbrass doing terrible things to people, the extra footage doesn't add all that much and in some ways lessens the impact of the tragedy that ultimately befalls those that live by the sword.

Rise of the Footsoldier: Extreme Edition Available 3rd February