Bonded By Blood (R18)

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Review byMatthew Turner7/09/2010

One out of Five stars
Running time: 97 mins

Uninspired, ridiculously sweary British gangster thriller that's let down by tedious characters, a badly written script and a dull storyline that fails to provide a reason to care.

What's it all about?
Directed by Sacha Bennett, Bonded By Blood is the third film based on the 1995 Rettendon Range Rover murders, following 2000's Essex Boys and 2007's Rise of the Footsoldier. Tamer Hassan plays violent, coke-sniffing drug dealer Patrick Tate, who's destined to end up shotgunned to death in the back of a Range Rover, alongside fellow drug dealers Tony Tucker (Terry Stone) and Craig Rolfe (Neil Maskell). But whodunnit?

Well, according to Bonded By Blood, middle-man Mickey Steele (Vincent Regan) dunnit, along with fellow tough guy Jack Whomes (Dave Legeno), though both men apparently still claim they're innocent. The story is also narrated by Darren Nicholls (Adam Deacon), who fell in with the various ne'er-do-wells while in prison. There isn't really much more to the plot than that, other than the fact that Mickey was sleeping with Patrick's ex, Kate (Kierston Wareing), though that doesn't seem to have any bearing on the actual murders.

The Good
Tamer Hassan is fine as Tate, as well he should be, since he seems to make one of these movies every five minutes. Regan and Maskell are equally good but the film wastes both Kierston Wareing and Primeval's Lucy Brown in thankless support roles, while Adam Deacon seems surplus to requirements, particularly as there's a spot of narrative trickery surrounding his character that is actually rather annoying.

The Bad
The main problem is the story itself – it's impossible to understand exactly why we should care about any of the main characters and a result you spend the entire film just willing them to jump in the Range Rover and get on with it. Similarly, the script is much more interested in piling on the gangster clichés (insane amounts of cocaine, random acts of violence, ridiculously sweary dialogue, to the point where they should have just called the movie “CANTS!” and had done with it) than creating things like atmosphere, tension or character development.

Worth seeing?
Even by the relatively low standards of other British gangster thrillers, Bonded By Blood is relentlessly average from start to finish, thanks to a tedious script, uninspired direction and its cast of unlikeable characters. Where is Danny Dyer when you really need him?

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Content updated: 21/11/2019 14:39

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