ID2: Shadwell Army

Film, Drama
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ID2: Shadwell Army

This football hooligan drama is surprisingly thoughtful and subversive

The 1995 film ‘ID’ may have inspired a rash of knuckle dragging, petrol-station-DVD-bin football hooligan flicks, but it was directed by longtime Alan Clark collaborator Phil Davis and starred a cast of legendary Brit character actors. This sequel could’ve been a cheap cash-in, taking the name and the undercover-cops-vs-footie-nutters setup and ditching the rest. So it’s an unexpected pleasure to report that ‘ID2’ is a thoughtful, provocative film, far from perfect, but a lot more intelligent and ambitious than it has any right to be.

Once again, the real target isn’t hooliganism but extremism. Muslim cop Mohammed (Simon Rivers) isn’t entirely sure why he’s been selected to pose as a Sikh and infiltrate the fictional Shadwell FC firm. But he throws himself into it nonetheless, becoming a fully paid-up lout and attracting the attention of the local branch of the English Defence League, who love the idea of having an ‘ethnic’ on side.

The plotting may be a little ropey, especially towards the end. But ‘ID2’ has smart things to say about identity and social class, and strides confidently through the minefield of British racial politics. To do all this under the cover of a gobby, violent hooligan flick feels both clever and subversive

By: Tom Huddleston


Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday August 12 2016
Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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2005’s ‘Green Street’ set the bar for me when it came to the football hooligan film genre; it was smart, dangerous and, in Elijah Wood and Charlie Hunnam, it had stars who were engaging and watchable. It feels like other movies in this field have been following vainly – and without much success – ever since. Enter stage right, ‘ID 2: Shadwell Army’.

At only 92 minutes, this should be one of those films that leaves you wanting more but in reality, it’s an utter snooze-fest packed full of 2D characters you neither care about not believe in. Linus Roache and Neil Pearson must have been caught short on rent the month this was filmed because I can’t think of any other reason why they’d have agreed to be in it.

As lead character Mo, Simon Rivers looks like completely out of his depth and if I could predict all the words that came out of his mouth, I’m pretty sure the gang he was trying to get in with wouldn’t have had much trouble seeing through him either. Proving his local street cred by rightly detailing Ena Sharple’s drink of choice was just one of a dozen wincing script moments, a random side affair was completely irrelevant and scenes in Amsterdam looked straight out of the student film-maker’s handbook. As the supposed heart of the film, Lee Ross’s Gumbo was probably the one person you’d quite like to see end up ok but unfortunately because everyone else was so unlikeable, he was totally overshadowed.

Not only was there never any real sense of danger – sure you knew things would get bloody but that’s not the same thing as being on the edge of your seat – and the colour-by-numbers script paired with unoriginal and OTT characters didn’t help with that. If you’re looking for something like ‘Green Street’, my advice would be to watch ‘Green Street’ and if you’ve got 90 minutes to spare, go take a nap. Actually, stick this on and that won’t be a problem for you either.  

Saw this at a preview last week, and definitely agree this is a political and intelligent film, very clever in lots of ways but bloody entertaining too (Love you Gumbo). Anyone who enjoyed the first movie will like this, but a lot of other people might be surprised as well. A world away from Green Street/Football Factory, this is just the sort of film the British film industry should be making - very Brit, but with universal themes. I'm going again, and bringing mates, if I can find it on somewhere in London...