GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS 2: STAND YOUR GROUND opens with another BRAVEHEART style two-crowds-running-at-each brawl set to an upbeat punk anthem. But the ground they have to stand in this one is fenced in – they’re in the joint. It’s about exactly what you dreamed the DTV sequel to GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS would be about: one of the supporting characters from part 1 is in prison for the big fight they got into at the end and continues to feud with the guy that killed Petey, now played by a different actor.
Ross McCall (SUBMERGED) triumphantly returns to his role of Dave, he was the guy who was the airline pilot, he called them up and warned them there were a bunch of guys that were gonna beat them up at the game or whatever. I don’t remember him being that important of a figure but prison is one of those small ponds that makes his fish parts look bigger or whatever. It’s just him and two oafs we never saw before from the GSE (Green Street Enthusiastic Soccer Fans Club dot org) and all the sudden he’s the brains of the operation, he acts like the leader and they follow him around and stuff. McCall is good actually, I had to look him up to make sure he was in the first one because he has a much stronger presence here, he seems like a different guy.
When you take away these men’s freedom, you don’t really take away their main passion of feuding with other dudes and constantly beating each other up over ancient grudges and meaningless bullshit. There is plenty of opportunity for this and in that sense their lives aren’t changed very much. Like any prison there are different factions you gotta worry about, but here it’s not just racial it’s also based on who likes which soccer team the most. In fact, they end up transferred to the same joint where Big Marc Turner is. That’s their main antagonist in part 1, who at the end beat Petey to death. He’s just as much of a cruel asshole now, but he’s played by Graham McTavish (RAMBO, THE WICKER TREE, COLOMBIANA) instead of Jamie Kenna. The guys who like the same soccer team that Big Marc Turner also likes outnumber the three guys that like whichever soccer team the GSE people like. So they are totally gonna argue about soccer!
The biggest difference in their lives is that they can’t go to the pub every day all day like they used to. (Side note: I wonder if the Cliff and Norm and the rest of the gang from Cheers could’ve been a firm? I guess Frasier would’ve been the grouchy Bovver character. [Side side note: I never actually watched Frasier. Did they ever mention that he’s a guy that spends all his nights at a bar? Or did he quit drinking when he moved to Seattle?]) They can only compensate by, in one scene, having a beer smuggled in inside a Bible and then splitting it.
On the outside of course they would be going to soccer games, luckily there is a prison soccer league doing their thing every time they’re in the yard, but actually they don’t seem to give much of a shit. I guess it’s not the same when the teams don’t have special songs to sing for them and stuff. The magic is gone.
But you know what, it really doesn’t seem like they miss soccer at all. It’s almost as if their interest was really in the punching, male bonding, self actualization, etc.
You get your usual prison movie stuff. Strategic allegiances, good guys getting ambushed and horribly mutilated or tortured, good guys ganging up on a bad guy in the kitchen, guards being bribed to look the other way, a loved one on the outside getting attacked, all that shit.
I’m pretty sure the word “hooligan” is never said in the first GREEN STREET (and is only in the title in some countries), but in this one there’s a scene where the big guy (Luke Massy, who both looks like and is a guy who played a frost giant in THOR) is in segregation and he stands with his face inches from the wall and recites a speech about the history of the term. It doesn’t make any sense but I like it. It adds flavor. And it’s educational.
It’s kinda funny how they try to pass off the macho stubbornness of a bunch of drunk assholes as an inspirational philosophy. Like these guys telling you to “never back down” is some deep Yoda shit. As the movie started to lean a little bit toward the sympathetic screw trying to outsmart the most corrupt one I realized he was supposed to be the Elijah Wood character here, the outsider who applies the philosophy of street brawls to his daily life. It also made me think a little a bit about Harry Potter and how the teachers transparently latch onto their pet students and change the rules to try to make everything go their way. Here the one guard tries to help out Dave and his two GSE sidekicks, while corrupt Officer Mavis is in on a drug trafficking scheme with Big Marc and the Millwall boys so she tries get Dave into trouble and help out her guys.
When overcrowding forces the prison to come up with a list of non-society-menacing prisoners to release the two fight over which of their pets get to go, and the warden decides to settle it with a soccer match (he has a funny speech comparing it to how disputes were resolved in the gladiator days).
I love this turn of events because they’re fans, not players. Dave’s girlfriend finds out about the match during a visit and tells him he better start practicing because he sucks. I like that they have been bloodied and incarcerated over this sport but don’t really know that much about playing it. (After some practice they do fine, though.)
This one is directed by Jesse V. Johnson, a stuntman and journeyman DTV director who has done some decent ones like THE PACKAGE and THE BUTCHER. I think that’s why you see some familiar b-action faces pop up here and there.
Oh damn, look who the warden is:
Yes, that’s Wez himself. Vernon Wells of “Let off some steam, Bennett” fame.
But here’s the scene where the movie really pulls out its DTV Action Legitimacy badge and slams it down proudly on the desk:
Your eye went right to him, right? It’s a 2006 movie but that’s Mathias god damn Hues standing there on the left. Alien criminal from I COME IN PEACE, frequent Billy Blanks co-star. Here he’s the muscle for a Russian guy that the GSE befriends. It’s an unusual role for him in that he’s basically a good guy and also in that you briefly see him playing soccer.
If that’s not legit enough for you look who else shows up for a second:
That’s kickboxer Jerry Trimble of FULL CONTACT, TERMINATOR WOMAN, STRANGLEHOLD, etc. He was also in Johnson’s THE HITMEN DIARIES, THE BUTCHER and THE PACKAGE. [Note: that is the titles of three different movies, not a fancy long title like TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY.] He’s barely in this one, so it makes sense that he’s not credited, but it’s weird that Hues isn’t because you do see him alot and it’s not like you don’t notice him every time he’s on camera.
Because of the director and the DTV format it would make sense for this to be more of an action vehicle, but like the first one it’s really more interested in the conflict between these two clubs of idiots. So when there’s fights they’re not done up fancy or anything. It’s not a bad movie, but probly too different and low budget to satisfy fans of the first movie and not preposterously far removed enough for the rest of us.
Writer T. Jay O’Brien also played a wino in THE SPIRIT.
VERN has a new action-horror novel out called WORM ON A HOOK! He has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the film criticism books Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal and Yippee Ki-Yay Moviegoer!: Writings on Bruce Willis, Badass Cinema and Other Important Topics as well as the crime novel Niketown.