Starring: Sean Bean, Bob Hoskins, Danny Dyer
Director: Nick Love
Nick Love follows up his violent football drama “The Football Factory” with “Outlaw”, a further look at society’s moral decay and the reaction it provokes from seemingly up-standing citizens.
The film separately follows several different characters subjected to extreme violence and offered no recourse in law. Gene (Danny Dyer) is violently assaulted by thugs in front of his wife-to-be, Sandy (Rupert Friend) is left scarred after a separate attack and lawyer Cedric Munroe (Lennie James) has his life turned upside down when a violent criminal he is prosecuting sends his people after Munroe’s family.
The above people are all connected through fairly-unstable security guard Simon (Sean Harris). Simon befriends returning British paratrooper Danny Bryant (Sean Bean) and solicits his help in wreaking revenge on society’s miscreants. Danny agrees; motivated by his experiences at war, anger at his wife’s infidelity and frustration with the system that he feels has left him an outcast in his home country.
The motley crew get valuable help from former cop Walter (Bob Hoskins) who has been reduced to chauffeuring and is bitter about the way he was treated by a police force he says is corrupt. With Walter passing on the information and then helping them cover their tracks, the gang go on a vigilante rampage targeting the very people who had damaged their lives with impunity. The media make celebrities out of them but Walter’s nemesis, Sgt Grieves (George Anton), is determined to track them down.
To say “Outlaw” is good for about five minutes isn’t far from the truth. I didn’t see Love’s earlier work but if “The Football Factory” was polluted with illogical characters and guileless plot as this one is then I won’t be going near it.
The vigilante film has been done exceptionally well before – look no further than “Death Wish”, “The Crow” and even Kevin Bacon’s watchable “Death Sentence”. But “Outlaw” fails on a fundamental level with a narrative that defies logic at times.
Sure, I’ve said that Danny Bryant is motivated by anger and frustration but that’s my assumption more than anything. The other characters aren’t any better and their leap from a bunch of pansies to extremely violent vigilante gang in the space of a few frames is completely unbelievable and shambolic in execution.
You can see it all crumbling from halfway in and, by the end, it’s unintentionally funny and a very sorry mess. Avoid – this is arguably as offensive as the yob culture it points a very blunt stick at.