UK Release Date: 17th April 2017
Runtime: 94 minutes
Director: Sacha Bennett
Writer: Sacha Bennett, Simon Cluett
Starring: Ian Ogilvy, Billy Murray, Julian Glover, Christopher Ellison, Tony Denham, Patrick Bergin, Tanya Franks, Lysette Anthony
Synopsis: A gang of old-fashioned crooks get themselves locked up to bust out their buddy so he can see his dying wife.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing this, but the British gangster movie is undergoing something of a renaissance. Thanks largely to the Herculean effort of super-producer Jonathan Sothcott, the shelves of your local Asda are almost certainly crammed to bursting with movies about Cockney hardmen willing to crack skulls and nick a load of cash from banks and stuff. The latest entry in this ongoing face-punching phenomenon is We Still Steal the Old Way, which is a sequel to the apparently quite popular 2014 film We Still Kill the Old Way. Despite the pretty awful title and depressing attempt to piggyback off the trend for Hatton Garden Job movies, the most shocking thing about this film is that it actually isn’t that bad.
After a quick trash talk with a slippery banker (Julian Glover), gang leader Richie Archer (Ian Ogilvy) and his friends Roy (Christopher Ellison) and Butch (Tony Denham) get caught very easily during a big money robbery. They are transferred to the prison of new boss Governor Pryce (Tanya Franks) and it soon transpires that they allowed themselves to be caught in order to help their ally Briggs (Patrick Bergin) break out of jail in order to visit his dying wife one last time. Richie’s old nemesis Vic Farrow (Billy Murray) hears that his foe is locked up and mounts a scheme to finish off their rivalry for good.
I’m willing to accept that I am not the audience for We Still Steal the Old Way and movies of its ilk. For those who love these movies, they will always deliver. However, it’s worth reporting that this film actually isn’t that terrible. It’s a mess of “geezer” tropes and poorly written dialogue, with a paper-thin script and some distinctly low visuals. But there’s a certain knockabout fun to it, despite the fact it seems to be put together in both script and cast from unused Hustle and Eastenders material.
Ian Ogilvy holds things together with a nicely arrogant performance as Richie Archer, but it’s Billy Murray who completely steals the show here. He’s the kind of actor who can do suave East End villainy in his sleep and he’s great in We Steal Your Old Way, which has a real nasty streak as it moves in to its final third. Murray can always be relied upon to display some real rage in his eyes and poison in his voice. In fact, it’s only a depressingly bungled prison riot set piece that prevents the film’s finale from being a nicely cathartic payoff.
The entire film suffers from the feeling of two movies being mushed together. The film wants to be a heist movie based around the Hatton Garden Job, with added shots at privilege and the banking industry, as well as a prison break movie. It’s a real cut-and-shut job of a movie, as if they got halfway through making a prison break film and then bolted on some guff about the Hatton Garden Job and former Bond villain Julian Glover as a sweary banker. The prison stuff is far more interesting and the shots at bankers are so facile that they feel as if they’ve been incredibly well-trodden over the near decade since the financial crisis.
We Still Steal The Old Way won’t do anything to wow people who aren’t already aboard the Sothcoot bandwagon and enjoying his new brand of British gangster. It has its positive points, but for the most part, it’s a botch job of clichés and rhyming slang that doesn’t seem to appeal particularly to anyone. For my money, the best of these films is still Vendetta. If you’re interested, watch that one instead.
There’s a behind-the-scenes featurette in which everyone talks about how glad they are to be back and how much fun they had in the set. It’s a little disappointing given there’s nothing else on the disc.
Pop or Poop?
There’s plenty for the gangster movie fan to enjoy in We Still Steal The Old Way, but nothing to entice the skeptical audience member. If you turn your nose up at Danny Dyer vehicles and don’t know your apples and pears from your Ruby Murrays, there’s probably not that much here that’s going to impress you. Billy Murray’s no-nonsense villain is almost worth the disc price alone, but the whole thing feels a little cheap.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.
We Still Steal the Old Way is available on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK now, courtesy of Kaleidoscope Entertainment.