Today: May 27, 2024

Old School Geezers

Looking at the current crop of movies coming from both sides of the Atlantic it’s clear that old age isn’t what it used to be. Rather than taking it easy, some of our more autumnal stars are increasingly sticking it to the whippersnappers and taking them on at their own energetic game.

Sure, there’s always been the retiring cop or ex-CIA operative pulled out of retirement (why put down a decent trope when it still works) but increasingly, the silver foxes of the celluloid world are going one stage further, as this month’s London Heist ably demonstrates. Its star, Craig Fairbrass, might not qualify as a veteran quite yet but he’s surrounded by the the awesome elder statesmen James Cosmo and Steven Berkoff – putting Mark McQueen’s crime drama in good company alongside a wave of recent hits showing geezers very much doing it for themselves and proving that you’re never too old to kick a bit of ass!

RED (2010)
Robert Schwentke reworks RED, a three-issue comic book mini-series, into a brilliant film merging overblown crime, comedy and mystery genres into one. RED follows a group of former government assassins fighting back against the CIA after being targeted for knowing too much. Framed for an assassination, Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) and his team combine their collective and unique talents to uncover the assailant threatening their lives. The thrilling film features a cast of award-winning actors, including Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and Brian Cox. Beneath a plot focusing on political sabotage and treachery, the main message is about how fighting for your life against a corrupt government is far more alluring than a crossword and a pair of slippers.

The Expendables (2010)
Nostalgia is one of many fundamental characteristics at the core of this sub-genre of crime dramas, especially when the film is written and directed by the king of hard-men Sylvester Stallone. The film, though action-packed, doffs its cap to a gloriously pre-CGI age, relying heavily on stunts and pyrotechnics. The Expendables presents an all-star cast of action-movie legends, headlining Jason Stathman, Jet Li, Randy Couture and, that man again, Bruce Willis as the villain. Stallone rounds up the gang of motley mercenaries, who are tasked to take down a South American dictator, General Gaza (David Zayas). These mercenaries have lived and breathed war their whole lives, and when the opportunity to relive their youth (along with their audience) arises, there was only ever going to be one answer!

We Still Kill The Old Way (2014)
As the title suggests, We Still Kill The Old Way offers up the classic crime film with an old school touch. With a great aesthetic to match a firecracker plot the film follows Richie (James Ogilvy) as he gets his old partners in crime back together to avenge his brother’s death and restore balance to the streets of East End. With two further knockout performances from London Heist’s Steven Berkoff and James Cosmo as well as appearances from Alison Doody (Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade), We Still Kill The Old Way is a British gangster film that  prides itself on being a celebration of the genre, with the old-timers at its centre harking back to where it all began and having a ball while they’re at it.

The Hatton Garden Job (2017)
Most of the films on this list are based on the fantasy of the criminals being able to continue their kick-ass ways into OAP status; however this recent release is based on truth. Although not completely factual, as there were parts of the incredible news story that are still unknown, The Hatton Garden Job brings one of the most bizarre, yet oddly comforting true crime stories in recent memory to the big screen. In 2015, the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company was robbed, by four men who were later found out to be some east end old geezers, blind siding everyone and capturing the nations hearts in an odd way. The cast is a who’s who of classic cool as well, with Larry Lamb and Phil Daniels leading a classy charge.

London Heist (2017)
This is latest addition to the genre that feeds off the idea that once you’re in the crime game, you’re never out. BAFTA-nominee Mark McQueen tells a gripping revenge thriller through the eyes of Jack Creegan, an armed robber and career criminal. This action-packed gangster film sees Jack, played by Craig Fairbrass, dragged away from his sun lounger in Marbella, to search for the truth behind his father’s brutal murder and his stolen heist money. The shattering revelations that follow, force Jack to pull off one last dangerous robbery on his way to exacting a brutal revenge on all those involved. The film is packed with a multitude of Brit screen heroes, including Steven Berkoff, James Cosmo, and Mem Ferda. If we knew we’d have the means to retire by the time we hit Craig’s age, we’d have considered a career in crime too although, as we’ve learnt, retirement isn’t always that straight forward in the crime game…

LONDON HEIST IS AVAILABLE NOW ON DVD & DIGITAL PLATFORMS FROM LIONSGATE HOME ENTERTAINMENT UK.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

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