Craig Fairbrass has had an interesting career in film and television, notching up more than fifty feature films, including a part in Cliffhanger, as well as being a household name for his various roles on British television screens in popular series like London’s Burning and Eastenders. I’ve not seen half of his films yet and while there are undoubtedly a few duds on his resume, this latest outing is a fairly solid success in my book.
Fairbrass plays Eddie Franks. Freshly released from prison, Eddie quickly learns that his dumbshit, drug addled brother Sean is in it up to his neck with local gangster hardcase bully boy cunts Roy and Johnny Garrett, who have their grubby sights fixed on Eddie and Sean’s only asset, a rundown London boozer, which incidentally looks like the same pub where they filmed the recent Scott Adkins film Avengement, in which Fairbrass also appears.
Eddie bends over backwards to try and fix the mess his brother has got them into, but some people simply can’t be reasoned with, at least not without pounding their faces with a hammer or chopping them up in a bloody pub toilet first. Eddie also has his estranged daughter’s gun toting, moped riding wannabe gangster boyfriend and his drug dealing piss ant chav friends to sort out, so he really has his hands full.
Whilst it doesn’t ascend the same raging heights as Rise of the Footsoldier (the first one) Villain isn’t far off at times. I found the tone a little bit uneven, one minute it’s intensely violent and atmospheric, then it shifts gear and is almost comical, before morphing into something quite touching and dramatic. I like a movie that makes me actually feel something, as well as ticking the box for gratuitous violence, so I was happy enough, despite not being entirely sure what exactly it was that they were going for tonally.
Fairbrass provides a consistent performace and after this I’m going to seek out more of his work. He’s also in the upcoming film from Gerard Johnson, Muscle, which I’m hoping will be as good as Johnson’s previous two films Tony and Hyena, which are both superb. It’s amazing when you consider the talent in British films today and that the potential for awesome manly movies is pretty much unlimited, if only the DVD market was stronger and there was more cash to get projects off the ground. It’s a pity the Footsoldier sequels haven’t maintained the quality of the original.
I highly recommend Villain and I’ll be checking out another of Fairbrass’ films soon.