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Jan 13, 2014

Green Street 3: Never Back Down

Rating:

Bruised knuckles, foul-mouthed tirades, pint-downing cockneys and the return of West Ham's notorious hooligan firm can mean only one thing -- the latest film in the Green Street series has hit the shelves.

Directed by James Nunn ("Tower Block"), "Green Street 3: Never Back Down" moves away from the traditional British street corner and back-alley bust-ups and focuses on organised fighting.

Danny Harvey (Scott Adkins) finds his life shattered when his younger brother is beaten to death during one of these pre-planned battles and returns to London with the hope of bringing the killer to justice. Having turned his back on football violence years ago, Danny soon learns that a return to the Green Street Elite (GSE) hooligan gang is the only chance to find out the truth and immediately discovers that a lot has changed in his absence.

Determined to usurp the old arch-enemies Millwall and restore the GSE as the undisputed kings of the terrace, Danny makes it his mission to train the beer-bellied West Ham fans into fit and skilled fighters.

Despite carrying the "Green Street" franchise name, this third installment provides no real link with the prequels and could be seen as an independent film. Truth be told, "Green Street 3" hardly qualifies as a British football hooligan film at all. In fact, a ball is not seen in the entire movie. It would perhaps be more accurate to sum it up as a Hollywood-inspired martial arts film, particularly with the 1980s slow-motion montages and melodramatic and slightly comical Rocky-esque training regimes.

Scott Adkins is convincing in the lead acting role and is equally impressive in his role as screen fighter, making it easy to mistake him for a trained MMA fighter. The credit for that goes to Joey Ansah ("The Bourne Ultimatum"), whose well-choreographed fight scenes combine both the brutal realism of British hooliganism cinema and the exhilarating adrenaline-packed martial arts of Hollywood -- even if they do include a distasteful Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield moment.

Millwall firm leader Mason (Spencer Wilding) proves your typical callous villain while Danny’s romantic episode with Molly (Kacey Barnfield) at least provides a bit of warmth to an otherwise sullen plot.

While there are some very watchable fight scenes, they seem to come at the expense of a cohesive storyline and the West Ham firm, Danny aside, hardly look capable of fighting off a group of cats, let alone the lions of Millwall. If you enjoy seeing phone boxes and bins used as weapons, and savour bones being crushed, this is the film for you. Otherwise, give it a miss.

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