Enjoyable Prison Drama with Vinnie Jones in Good Form
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 10/19/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Vinnie Jones is Danny "Mean Machine" Meehan, former star soccer player, who was once hired to promote the sports goods of first-rate company Umbro. But now drunk and disgraced, he is in jail, doing his time of three-year sentence. But the governor there, himself deep in debt, wants him to go back to the game (between wards and prisoners), AND lose it on purpose, just like Danny did in the international match between England and Germany.Sounds familiar? Sure, the film's opening credits show that "Mean Machine" is actually based on Burt Reynolds's film "The Longest Yard." You may say, or groan, "Not again!," but be assured, this new one is surprisingly good, considering that Vinnie Jones's career as actor has just got started. And his fans, be proud; though he may not be nominated for BAFTA awards, his turn as the first-time lead is really good, and convincing.The virtue of "Mean Machine" is that the film looks very authentic. That's no surprise, you say, because Vinnie Jones was a professional soccer player, but keep in mind that he had to shape up his body again to fit in the role as it has been pretty long since he had retired. As I'm a huge soccer fan, and watch Euporean games live on cable TV in Japan, I can tell you this, but the players of "Mean Machine" team are good at playing soccer, and the most remarkable thing is that they play so well that their movements in the game is authentic (except for the goal keeper, who likes keep the ball too much), and look very real, if not as good as those you see in English Premier games. On top of that, most scenes are shot in real prison, The Oxford Prison, now disused for years.But the greatest find is Vinnie Jones, who is natural and sometimes even humorous. He is much better than ill-used role in "Swordfish," and the director knows how to use his tough-guy persona on the screen. The film keeps a good speed, and the supports are also effective, such as veteran actor David Kelly ("Greenfingers," another prison drama, and "Waking Ned Divine"). And for the soccer fans (and players), Vinnie's lecture on "How to Commit Foul Plays" is very funny, alarmingly.Overall the film is a drama, and some of the scenes are very serious, but the film doens't stop there too long. Predictable you may call it, but I still find it fun to watch. You may too, especially when you like soccer like me."
British remake of Burt Reynolds' THE LONGEST YARD
BD Ashley | Otago, New Zealand | 05/12/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"MEAN MACHINE is a remake of the Burt Reynolds movie THE LONGEST YARD, using the movie's UK release title. I haven't seen the original but this wasn't bad.
In a brilliant piece of casting ex-pro footballer turned tough guy actor Vinnie Jones plays Danny "Mean Machine" Meehan, an ex pro-footballer who is jailed for three years on assault charges. But the prison warden (David Hemmings) happens to be a soccer nut, so he offers Meehan the opportunity to assemble a team of inmates and train them for a soccer game against the prison officers.
Executive produced by Guy Ritchie, MEAN MACHINE is a formulaic but entertaining movie. The meshing of the sports/prison movie genres may make you see these guys as being right 'ard geezers or limp-wristed nancy boys, depending on your opinion of soccer. Well, there's a Robbie Williams song near the end of the movie so I'll leave that open to viewers to make their own judgments. MEAN MACHINE's still a good movie. If you're a soccer fan it's probably a five star movie. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel of sorts to be green-lighted featuring lesbian mud wrestling instead of soccer."
LaNi | Spring, TX USA | 08/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie/film was unexpectedly brilliant. I was compelled to say Vinnie Jones an actual British Soccer Player an actor. He showed off his diversity being able to perform with directorial execution. The cast was genuinely placed. The scenery was inviting considering prison foregrounds and backgrounds. Having a soccer star mess up and go through depression by landing himself in prison which has a redemptive affect on him to realize if he had just did this while on the "outside" he would have got the same results. You do not have to compromise your integrity at the hand of world-volumed pressure and at the cost of well established peace of mind. The comical context was great preparation for a price paid - a death. It had all the hollywood understanding of life in prison and all the reality of celebrity self-induced trial and error. I cannot finish this without giving credit to LimpBilly and the prison commentators Bob and Bob; they keep your interest and the musical score was quite proper! Again, I was not expecting this to be that good. Well done and well worth it time and time again."
Comedy and Soccer. What else?
Matthew Boettcher | Indaiatuba, Brazil | 06/27/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"NOTHING. However this film survives on those two elements alone. My friends and I saw the film in Brazil with a theater full of brazilians who love soccer and cant speak english. While they didnt laugh NEARLY as much as my friends and I, they still enjoyed it.
A basic storyline is: After a great life in international soccer, a man is arrested and sent to prison. The warden of the prison is a huge football fan and thus the delima begins for the inmate. Freedom or Soccer?
If you dont enjoy soccer, pass this film up. If you like soccer and your friends dont...watch it alone. But finally a film for us soccer fans."