The Magnificent Eleven DVD

Tuesday, 14 May 2013 00:00
Posted in Cult Movies on DVD
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The Magnificent Eleven shoot onto DVDFootball, racketeering and Indian cuisine collide in this new British comedy co-written by Irvine Welsh (“Trainspotting”). Dire Sunday soccer team Cowboy F.C. may have just played its final game. The coffers are dry, they have never scored a goal let alone won a match and are the laughing stock of the league. To make matters worse, their rowdy post-match antics have seen them get banned from virtually every pub and restaurant in town.

When all seems lost, two glimmers of hope surface in the shape of rival sponsorship opportunities. The first offer comes from The Taj Tandoori, a local Indian restaurant, the other from a big American firm looking to move into the area. The hapless team make a deal with The Taj’s hard-bargaining owners, only to discover that the restaurant is being squeezed by American Bob, a local crime lord (Robert Vaughn – The Man From UNCLE, Hustle).

The impressive (if heavily typecast) roster of actors also includes Keith Allen (Robin Hood), Sean Pertwee (“Dog Soldiers”), Gary Mavers (Casualty), Phillip Rhys (Survivors), Paul Barber (Only Fools and Horses), Sudha Bhuchar (Stella) and Kriss Dosanjh (“This is England”). The acting standard varies quite widely between very good and what I would equate to pantomime level (courtesy of American Bob’s towering thugs and some dodgy American dialects), but on the whole it is in keeping with what is in essence a fairly light-hearted comedy-drama with occasional darker patches.

I am no expert on amateur football, but the film appears to capture the ambience and action of the games quite well, with players showing moments of promise but otherwise generally lacking in either physical prowess or much in the way of talent. A dozen die-hard spectators look on, shifting uncomfortably in the cold and probably secretly wishing the club would go under!

Director Jeremy Wooding (“The Legend of Dick and Dom”) also evocatively depicts the mildly depressing, stuck-in-a-rut lifestyle of the team’s social life. The aim appears to be to get plastered and misbehave, be it chucking food around, singing crude songs or getting a bit on the side, the latter landing Pertwee’s serial-adulterer into a lot of hot water.

The involvement of Vaughn’s racketeering mob occasionally threatens to push the tone of the film too far in terms of seriousness and violence, but then there are also underlying themes of racial integration, the fear of immigrants taking ‘British’ jobs and arranged marriage. Whether these more adult topics meld successfully with the rest of the film or not is difficult to say. They certainly do not ruin it, and do provide some food for thought.

The comedy is a bit hit and miss, though occasionally the one-liners and slapstick antics of Rhys’s character tripping over his own feet on the pitch did make me laugh. The surprise guest star who makes a fleeting appearance right at the end of the movie is an unexpected bonus.

Whilst not likely to attain the enduring adoration of the of the likes of “Brassed Off” and “Gregory’s Girl”, “The Magnificent Eleven” is a solid film that will appeal both to footy fans and those with little interest in ‘the beautiful game’.

Special features on the disc include:

  • Interview with Robert Vaughan.
  • Commentary with Director Jeremy Wooding and Producer John Adams.
  • Cowboys and Indians Featurette.
  • The Good the Bad and the Fruity Featurette.
  • The Mild Bunch Featurette.
  • A Fistful of Crochets Featurette.
  • Trailer.

 

None of this content was available at the time of my review. The contrast level on my preview disc was very poor, making darker scenes such as those in the club’s changing room and the restaurant quite difficult to make out. Hopefully this is just a reproduction side-effect of an early screener copy rather than representative of the final retail product.

“The Magnificent Eleven” (2013) is out now on DVD courtesy of Eureka Entertainment. The main feature has a running time of 95 minutes approx, carries a ‘12’ certificate and retails for £12.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 10:38

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