Rise of the Footsoldier follows the inexorable rise of Carlton Leach from one of the most feared generals of the football terraces to becoming a member of a notorious gang of criminals who rampaged their way through London and Essex in the late eighties and early nineties. It is three decades of his life following him from football hooliganism, through to his burgeoning career as a bouncer, his involvement in the criminal aspects of the early 'rave' scene and subsequently to his rise to power as one of the most feared and respected criminals in the country.

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Reading all those devastating reviews (or shall we say, predominently devastating) about this movie, I have to break a lance for „Rise of the Footsoldier". Sure, this movie isn't for everyone. For example, if films like "Fried Green Tomatoes" or "The Hours" are among your favourites and if you're more of a Wim Wenders- / Sergei Eistenstein-type, well, this might not exactly be your kind of film. Same goes if you're not into violence or cussing. However, there are other types: those who don't mind the violence- and cussing-bits. Quiet the opposite. True enough, the direction is no masterwork and the story often disjointed, always fearful of loosing a moment of violence and mayhem. But it's the characters, which make the film interesting: Ricci Harnett is a suitable, shark-like 'protagonist', one cannot help but admire the tenacity with which Terry Stone spews out obscenities and violence at an equal measure and, again, if you're not the type who enjoys Craig Fairbrass cutting up a pizza-boy with a pizza-cutter (cussing all the while), well, this movie wasn't made for you. Special mention should go to Frank Harper, who, despite only making a short appearance, is brilliant as ever and makes a spin-chilling murderous psychopath. Never was an actor more cut out to play hooligans, brutes and thugs. Did I mention that the movie is violent? Very, very violent. The violence in "Rise of the Footsoldier" keeps a fine balance between exaggerated-, comic-book gore and realistic brutality, heading to the level of 'exploitive', but, as said, the film never pretends to be a moral play or romantic comedy. Lingual-wise, the better part of the dialogue – the one that's not about committing crimes, taking drugs or beating up people – is reserved for two words. IMDb etiquette won't allow me to post the full context but that this review and add at least one "FAK" and one "KANT" to each sentence; you'll get the picture. I must also admit, although I'm not a native English-speaker, I generally have no troubles watching films in English – with a few exception; among those exceptions it "Rise of the Footsoldier", which forced me to turn on the subtitles. Wouldn't want to miss one of the verbal obscenities, would you? Definitely one of the better British gangster and hooligan films; I give it 7 FAKIN points out of 10 points, KANT. By the way, "Bounded by Blood", after "The Essex Boys" and "Rise of the Footsoldier", the third re-telling of the Rettendon Range Rover murders, should be thoroughly avoided by people who enjoyed this film, especially since it has been billed as "Footsoldier 2" in some countries. Despite a similar cast and storyline, that movie was a real zero-pointer.

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