Film Franchise Review: Rise of the Footsoldier I, II, & III

Rise of the Footsoldier

* Spoiler warning for all three films

If you like gangster movies the Rise of the Footsoldier films might be for you. If sex, drugs, violence (lots of violence), and “King’s English”, curse words are not your thing then move along.

The franchise centers around the “rise” of Carlton Leach from being a football hooligan to shot caller in the UK underworld. The seminal, real-world event that the three films revolve around is the 1995 Rettendon murders.

There are so many reasons to watch these films. I absolutely love to hear British slang and this franchise has it in spades. But if you are at TTAK you want to know about the weapons and how they are used. Answer: many, varied, and with extreme brutality.

Being the UK they are not so keen on guns there although some do make it into these three movies. But knives, hammers, pipes, broken glass, crossbows (yes, modern day gangsters with crossbows) and good old-fashioned fists are all over this franchise.

And the drugs . . . these guys were so high in the 80’s and 90’s it is enough to make one wonder how they even stepped outside. I guess they tossed out the cardinal rule of dealing being that you don’t use your own product.

Which leads to another point: these are not likable people. They are villains plain and simple. It is so easy to get lost in the mayhem that you forget the fact that guys like these make the world a crappier place to live in.

The lead character Calton Leach does find some redemption and likeability towards the end of the second film as he reconnects with his long lost son. The main character of the third film, and friend of Leach, Pat Tate is gunned down along with two friends in Rettendon. There is a reason you don’t see too many old drug dealers.
The events in the three films take place mostly in the UK but a good amount does not. There are field trips to continental Europe and the Carribbean peppered in. This definitely gives an international flavor and scope to the films.

This is also a “period” franchise. Lots of 80’s and 90’s nostalgia thrown in. It works as it helps one see the events and story in a context.

Not much else to state. If you want to see gangsters of a different sort and you want to see how pills and powder flow into the land of pints and maypoles then these three films are for you. Or maybe you just want to watch the dregs of humanity off each other with melee weapons? In either case you got roughly six hours in which to occupy your time. The Rise of the Footsoldier series rates 4 out of 5 stars if you are into this kind of flick.


  1. Sam L. says:

    I’m not into it.

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Film Franchise Review: Rise of the Footsoldier I, II, & III

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