Here we go again. Britain’s crassest franchise is back and this time it’s telling the origin story of Tony Tucker (Terry Stone), one of the three “Essex boys” killed during the Rettendon murders in December 1995. It’s a return to form for the series, which entered farcical territory with Rise of the Footsoldier 4: Marbella, undermining its usual gangster fare with a jarring road trip subplot.
Of course, that’s not to say that the rest of the series isn’t farcical. It absolutely is. But it’s a deadpan farce full of earnest dialogue such as, “Joey Waller is just a fucking little shit cunt slag who deals a little bit of gear for me.” Fortunately, director Nick Nevern seems well aware of this, as he has returned the amusingly scuzzy bravado with full force.
The general narrative of Origins is much like the first film, which told the supposed ‘rise’ of Carlton Leach, a noted hard bastard. Like Leach, Tucker apparently thrived as an Essex doorman before exploiting the ecstasy scene in the early 1990s. We see this career unravel with all the profanity and violence that you would expect, only this time it benefits from polished camerawork instead of the shaky camerawork that blighted the original and the wider mid-2000s. In fact, Origins shows a visual and aural craft that is more than adequate, even if the ‘80s is a bit obvious.
Actors Craig Fairbrass, Terry Stone and Roland Manookian have long been comfortable in their respective roles of Pat Tate, Tony Tucker and Craig Rolfe, so they deliver as expected, with Fairbrass commanding the frame once again with his scene-stealing intensity. Joining them are colourful cameos from Vinnie Jones, George Russo and Keith Allen, all of whom bring their vulgar best.