22nd Oct2013

‘Green Street 3: Never Back Down’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Scott Adkins, Joey Ansah, James Backhouse, Kacey Barnfield, David Cheung, Tony Crookes, Jack Doolan, Billy Cook | Written by Ronnie Thompson | Directed by James Nunn

greenstreet3-adkins

Let’s be brutally honest, I absolutely detest the “football hooligan” sub-genre of British cinema, a genre which has – for reasons I personally can’t fathom – flourished on DVD here in the UK in recent years.

Now that may sound strange given that I’m more than happy to sit through sleazy, near-the-knuckle horror and exploitation flicks (some of which would turn people’s stomachs) but there’s just something about the genre and seeing grown men beat the living hell out of each other on film in the name of a “sport”, that puts me right off. Especially when that’s the ONLY selling point of a movie! Which is why you’ve never seen a review of such a film from me – not in the four years I ran Blogomatic3000 and not now here on Nerdly.

That is until now.

So why now and why Green Street 3? For one reason and one reason alone: Scott Adkins. Since his star turn in Undisputed 2 I have made a point to watch each and every one of the man’s films, and he’s never let me down. From the awesome Ninja, to the superb El Gringo; hell, even in the less-than-stellar Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, Adkins puts in a great performance no matter the subject and no matter the budget. Which is why I was willing to give this film a go…

The film tells the story of Danny Harvey (Adkins) who spent all of his life fighting – in the playground, on the football pitch and then heading up the West Ham firm the Green Street Elite (GSE), before turning his back on football violence. But Danny’s younger brother Joey (Cook), also a skilled fighter, couldn’t turn his back on the GSE and when he’s killed in an organised fight against a rival firm, Danny returns to his old manor, desperate to seek revenge and avenge his brother’s death, and knows the only way of finding out who killed Joey is to return to his past and get back into the firm.

Green Street 3: Never Back Down is, frankly, an strange film. It’s safe to say that with Adkins returning to the UK for this flick he’s most definitely brought some of Hollywood back with him – there’s a good chuck of the film given over to Rocky style training montages, complete with 80s-style soundtrack for christ’s sake! Taking the very British premise of football hooliganism and giving it a Hollywood spin would seem like an odd choice, it’s like watching an American take on British culture – I was half-expecting a London bus to drive past every five minutes just to convince the audience we’re actually in London…

Having never seen the first two films in the series (it’s hard to believe the original film starred Elijah Wood and Charlie Hunnam), there’s obviously no way I can compare this film to the rest of the franchise. However taken on it’s own merits Green Street 3 isn’t actually that bad. Especially when it abandons the actual football hooliganism plot to focus on the organised underground street fighting (yes, you read that right) and Adkins, along with the wealth of martial artists hired to work on the film, come into their own.

And that’s the best way to enjoy the film. Ignore the football hooligan premise and just soak up the film’s fantastic fight sequences – choreographed by Britain’s own Joey Ansah (Street Fighter: Legacy) – of which there are many.

Green Street 3: Never Back Down is out now on DVD from Lionsgate UK.

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