Director: Ron Scalpello.
It hasn’t been long after the release of last year’s, The Guv’nor. The feature length documentary that covered the infamous Lenny McLean; and it’s possible that the doc’s director, Paul Van Carter and contributor Martin Askew already had this film in the pipeline, as both are credited to writing this story.
It’s a bold and often violent history of one of Britain’s hardest men and whilst it covers a lot of the same ground as the documentary, it does dramatise and doesn’t glorify the London underworld hardman. Some might walk away disliking the man, and understandably so which is what makes this film brave. It’s not afraid to bring up the nasty side of McLean, the part of him that made him notoriously famous.
Though the substance of the story, or who’s behind the camera isn’t really the first key concern when it comes to making a film about Lenny McLean. The main concern is who do you cast to play the larger than life fighter. I remember one of the photo’s in his autobiography with him and British TV/Film tough guy Craig Fairbrass being his desired choice to portray himself, but that was many years ago and I do wonder who else auditioned for the role.
Aussie born actor Josh Helman takes it on the shoulders and seems incredibly comfortable playing McLean. Best known for playing the younger Stryker in the X-men movies, Slit in Mad Max: Fury Road and young punk Jed in the first Jack Reacher. It’s a bonus that he has quite a likeness to McLean, and he appears to have studied the main man very well, mimicking his stride, his posture, attitude and mannerisms.
The supporting cast do a fine performance also, in fact, the casting for this film has be done really well especially with both McLean and Bisping’s Roy Shaw. Bobby documentary director, Scalpello, does a good job with some nice flares displaying some artistic talent, and the production as a whole is very well done with set design, costume and make up really bringing that era and area to life.
It’s clearly not Legend, not boasting the same budget or big names but it certainly sits among the other notorious films like Bronson and Chopper. I’m sure all in involved would have made the big man very proud, even if brutally honest about the darker beginnings of The Guv’nor.
Much like the documentary, It’s made me pick up his bestselling book The Guv’nor again, which is still one of my all time favourite british underworld books, and an overall favourite book all together. It’s a well made and performed film; and it certainly gives an insightful snapshot into Britain’s hardest man.
Running Time: 7
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 7
The Extra Bonus Point: 0