6/10
Worth seeing for the nod to Goodfellas alone but also finally a British comedy that is actually funny.
20 June 2014
The shelves of British supermarkets are filled with DVD titles with the word 'Hooligan' in them and now finally comes one that's actually worth watching. Sending up the recent spate of Hooligan and Gangster films that have swamped the straight to DVD market and kicking off with the Ranger Rover Essex Murders gone wrong with a nice cameo from Danny Dyer, this sets the parody tone for the rest of the film.

Danny (The always excellent Jason Maza) has no direction in his life but soon finds himself embroiled with Dex,(Nick Nevern) Football Hooligan Topboy, recently released from prison who sports a nice line in neon tracksuit ware. Dex and his gang hang out in the not at all camp 'Iron Hoof' bar, always entering by the back door to avoid the Police, where they plan to square up against long time rival 'The Baron' who presides over another firm.

Okay so the football hooligan version of This Is Spinal Tap this isn't, but the laughs are not thin on the ground as Nevern (Who also co wrote and directs) keeps the gags coming thick and fast. The introduction to many characters in his football gang is a classic nod to the Goodfella's gangster hang out introduction scene and its a funny homage of the first order which will have me buying the DVD for alone. ('Freddy the Nonce - Come in the toilets I've got something to show ya..')

As with the actual films of this genre its very male led heavy with the few female characters not given much to do as the male testosterone hots up leading up to the big meet but perhaps that is the point because non comical films of this type give them even less to do. Nevern has compiled an impressive supporting cast which features several up and coming British Actors including Josef Atlin (Check out his performance in A Long Way Down)Ronnie Fox, Ray Fearon and Tom Burke who is already one of the best of his generation. Every character is a nod to an already existing stereotype in films of this type and then sent up to maximum comic effect, some work better than others but the cast all put in a maximum effort and it certainly pays off. Jason Maza with his natural on screen charisma anchors the whole piece nicely as the narrator and lead role of Danny and Nevern does an uncompromising job as both actor and director in keeping the tone of the piece in the way he intended. The look and the music of the film are well thought to compliment the comedy and may have you reaching for your nearest Kappa tracksuit wear store.

What makes the film all the more incredible is the budget and time in which it was shot in which was very tight on both counts. Though that has not been a factor on this review as it has to stand on its own two feet, it is still a remarkable achievement on its own worth mentioning.

While not everything in the film is perfect and some gags fall flat, the most important thing about comedy films is that they should make you laugh and I will imagine in a couple of years time when someone says to you 'What was the last British comedy that really made you laugh?' instead of struggling to think of one, your answer could well be 'The Hooligan Factory' (Unless you're a total lemon)
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