Mean Machine

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This remake of the ballsy Robert Aldrich/Burt Reynolds prison drama The Longest Yard (released in Britain as The Mean Machine) substitutes soccer for American football, but otherwise retains the basic set-up: a disgraced sports star is incarcerated and compelled to lead his fellow inmates in a match against the warders for the entertainment of the governor. The Aldrich yarn was a hell of a movie: amid the crunching violence the director of The Dirty Dozen and Kiss Me Deadly mounted a characteristically no holds barred assault on authoritarianism and petty fascism. The remake is a joke. Fortunately director Skolnick has cottoned on that he was on a hiding to nothing, and after the dire first half hour, he essentially plays it for laughs. Vinnie Jones turns in a very decent performance (easily his most confident to date) as former England skipper Danny Meeham, a national villain after throwing a game. His rehabilitation comes reluctantly, finding some pride as he coaches a bunch of no-hopers for the game of their lives. The supporting cast give it a go too.

By: TCh

Release details

Duration: 99 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Barry Skolnick
Screenwriter: Charlie Fletcher, Chris Baker, Andrew Day
Cast: Vinnie Jones
David Kelly
David Hemmings
Ralph Brown
Vas Blackwood
Robbie Gee
Geoff Bell
John Forgeham
Sally Phillips
Jason Flemyng
Danny Dyer
Jason Statham
Jake Abraham
Omid Djalili