Some bloke, Eddie Hill, is helping his friend, Mike, to assassinate the killer of his girlfriend (wife?) Kate. Ed is the story’s narrator and it seems that Mike and Katy are/were his best friends. Sadly the first part of Meet the Firm feels like we are coming into a film halfway through, with no real explanation of what’s going on until afterwards so the whole pre-credits sequence lacks any real dramatic tension and almost no interest. The friends have a bit of banter, but as a viewer who hadn’t seen the first film in the series all this ‘mates forever’ malarkey was rather lost on me. Anyway, Mike gets shot, because he’s dumb, and dies in Ed’s arms, which doesn’t please our ‘hero’ and he vows to himself to set the record straight – once he manages to escape from Russia.
The scene changes to London and Ed is at his dead mate’s funeral (alone) until a girl turns up. She tries to persuade him to be with her, but he’s too pre-occupied with his grief for his seemingly unpopular dead friend. A stranger watches on from the balcony and follows Ed about, until finally confronting him, telling him he too wants to track down Mike’s killers. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing Ed finally joins forces with new guy Damien to take on the Russian gangster who killed Mike. With this in mind they head off to World Cup Rio to seek out their nemesis and lay old ghosts to rest.
While in Rio, Ed finds out that Damien is Mike’s step-brother, Damien saves a loveable hooker (and they get it on), and Ed continues his near useless narration, even when he’s arrested and put in prison! In fact Eddie reminded me of a footie hooligan version of David Brent from The Office.
It all concludes with our friendly hooker, Yasmin, helping the boys to get close to the mafia’s main man, resulting in a final, rather anti-climactic encounter at his mansion.
Now I occasionally quite enjoy the odd football thug movie – the likes of I.D. and The Firm are excellent examples and the Green Street films are all watchable for various reasons. But I’ve got to say Meet the Firm: Revenge in Rio scrapes the bottom of the barrel in this particular sub-genre.
It strikes me that Tanter is trying too hard to find the right mix of tongue-in-cheek comedy with outright brutality and mostly fails. There are some funny bits in here (mostly unintentional), but, for the most part, the film feels lost. In fact at times it felt like an over-long episode of some obscure TV series, the way it just drops us into the action without really explaining what’s happened in previous instalments.
The camera work here is pretty variable; I’d rate it from poor to average. However, it’s helped by some nice locations, which give it a slightly exotic feel. I got the impression the filmmakers only really shot it in Rio because it was World Cup time and they fancied a working holiday in Brazil. Although, looking at the credits, it was also shot in Prague, Spain and in London. The direction is very pedestrian, which kind of suits the TV episode vibe, I guess.
This sort of film is pure wish fulfilment for a certain type of footie fan – adventure overseas, rescuing hot girls, beating up rival fans, stealing gangsters' money, buying your own football club… There’s nothing wrong in most of that, but it’s all so badly scripted, and poorly executed and acted, that this is one season ticket footie fans should avoid.
Meet the Firm: Revenge in Rio has recently been released on DVD and is being distributed by Metrodome. Unfortunately the only extras on the review disc were a bunch of trailers for other Metrodome releases, including The Fall of the Essex Boys, Essex Boy: Retribution and St. Georges Day. Shame, as I’d have loved to have heard a commentary for this film.