It's crazy, for me anyway, that Rise of the Footsoldier: Vengeance marks the sixth film of the franchise. Clearly they have an audience though and you simply have to respect that. As much as the bar isn't exactly set very high, this instalment is easily the best since the first film.

Pat Tate (Craig Fairbrass) goes on a rampage to avenge his loyal and trusted foot soldier's violent death. To track down the villain responsible, Tate ventures beyond his comfort zone of Essex and into the dark side of 90s Soho. He squares up against violent kingpins and negotiates his way through treacherous backstreets with sheer brutal force. Set to execute his revenge, Tate will stop at nothing even as the world around him starts to explode.
The most noticeable difference between this and the other films in the franchise is that every other word isn't either "fuck" or "cunt". There was always a feeling of childishness surrounding these films, making it seem as if everyone involved had just discovered every single swear word in the book. Obviously they are included in Vengeance but there feels to be a lot more maturity to the film as a whole, Pat Tate's path of vengeance feeling like a meditative state for the battered soul.

A tale of revenge always offers the opportunity for a film to go down a much darker path, an opportunity that Vengeance takes with both hands. Andrew Loveday and Jason Maza's writing along with Nick Nevern's directing feeling as if they've grown from previous efforts in the franchise. The action is well shot and the neon-soaked streets of 90s Soho are brought to life through James Butler's assured cinematography.
Craig Fairbrass is synonymous with the franchise and the Pat Tate we see here is a very different beast to the one we've seen before. That's all down to Fairbrass committing himself to the character, a moment towards the end as an injured Tate chases down an injured enemy through the streets of Soho feeling like he's Michael Myers for a brief chilling moment.

Whether they make more of these remains to be seen however, the change-up in approach to this film makes it arguably the best of the bunch. Fully recommend checking this out even if, like me, you found it hard to sit through some of the previous films.

Verdict: ★★★


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