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Mean Machine
DVD disk
Oct 6, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Mean Machine order
Director:
Barry Skolnick

Actors:
Vinnie Jones
Ralph Brown
David Hemmings

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A disgraced soccer superstar Danny Meehan (Jones) is sent to prison for busting up two cops. Once there, the warden (Hemmings) tries to force him into coaching the guard's team and as one thing leads to another, Danny ends up leading a ragtag team of inmates in a grudge match against the same guards that he was supposed to coach. Madness ensues.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
When I got a hold of this DVD, I wasn't sure what to think. Here I was, coming off the World Cup of football and having spent an entire month without sleep catching every possible game played in Asia in the middle of the night. Was I ready for more soccer? I didn't think so but when I took a look at Vinnie Jones' face on the cover, I said to myself: "This man is a great man, and a great man deserves my attention". So here I was, ready to watch more soccer, popping it into my DVD player, the ref blowing the kick off whistle and...

I still don't know what happened after that. The film opened with a wild Danny Meehan speeding in a sports car through London with a bottle of whisky in his hands and a pair of bobbies chasing him. He looked like he was having so much fun, I couldn't help but have some too. I've had the chance (no, the privilege) to hang out with more than my fair share of dudes from the UK in my lifetime and bar-none, they're the funnest lads in the world and when these guys decide to have a blast...nothing stands in their way. This film was a bit like that as well. From beginning to end, it was a pure delight and it even more importantly...pure fun. Vinnie Jones is one cool son of a bitch and even though his performance may not have been too much of a stretch for the former professional bad boy of "football", he was just as cool as you'd imagine he would be. He had some talent supporting him as well, more specifically Ralph Brown as the Guard's chief and David Hemmings as the warden whose gambling debts are forcing him deeper and deeper into the criminal underworld that he's supposed to supervise and Jason Statham as Monk, the cons' psycho goalie that even tough Danny's afraid to criticize.

This film basically went from fun, to very fun, to flat out hilarious in the final match while all along giving you enough chuckles to help ease down that third or fourth pint. It also has one of the peppiest soundtracks which actually adds to the laughs, especially in the training montage showing the evil guards and the goofball inmates. But the game itself, which went for the last 20 minutes of the film (the whole thing runs only 99 minutes) is classic and to likely to soccer...what SLAP SHOT is to hockey. This side-splitting game is a mix of finesse, all-out brawling, cheap shots, heart, courage, spirit and laughter as the two groups battle it out to the tune of two hilarious play-by-play announcers/inmates. Even if you have a hard time understanding the rest of the film because of the accents, the payoff is well worth it during the grand finale! Pop this sucker in and have a blast!
THE EXTRAS
Unfortunately, this DVD is completely bare of any bonus material. It's too bad because I can only imagine the hilarious bloopers and outtakes they could have gotten off this one. Either that or I would have just settled for some old clips of Vinnie Jones kicking ass in the English League.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This is an easy pick for me. A short movie that you can have a blast with watching over and over again while drinking with the boys. You should definitely give this one a go. It manages to put a fun spin on a basic premise and does so remarkably well. Cheers to Mr. Jones and the boys for a good time had by all!!
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