Genre : Crime/Drama
Country : UK
Leo Gregory : Billy Evans
Ricci Harnett : Mickey
Vincent Regan : Watson
Director : Martin Kemp
Low-budget indie films originating from the UK don’t always guarantee quality. “Top dog” is proof of that. The meager attempt to blend hooliganism within English football with local crime which is connected with the more notorious mafia of the country, unfortunately turned into a fiasco. The idea isn’t bad. Only they’ve dropped a few stitches in the implementation of it. The result doesn’t leave a lasting impression and can safely be classified as another third-rate crime movie.
It’s the story about Billy Evans (Leo Gregory), leader of a group of supporters of an English football club who spend their weekends with beating up supporters of the opponent. He’s an exemplary family man and a person who’s trusted by his blood brothers. The day he wants to help his uncle and aunt to get rid of a local extortionist gang, he doesn’t realize what hornet’s nest he’s getting himself into. Before he knows it, he finds himself in a tricky situation with unpleasant consequences as a result. He starts to realize that hooliganism and mafia practices are two totally different disciplines.
Normally I’m always pleased with the performances in a British film, but this time something bothered me at that level. The most eye-catching performance came from Lorraine Stanley (wife of Billy’s best friend). Gregory was at times convincing as the cold-blooded and unstirred leader of football fans. But during the emotional moments it all looked kind of silly. Ricci Harnett, the machiavellian gang leader with his accompanying mocking grin, was the most intriguing character. Unfortunately he behaved like a beaten dog when sitting in front of the big chief Mr. Watson (Vincent Regan). Yet strange that such a confident thug like Mickey, and always accompanied by two bodyguards, can be beleaguered in such a simple manner. Most likely an underestimation of the opponent.
Ultimately, it’s just a typical film about thugs and hooligans. The story didn’t provide the necessary tension. Needless to say there were also some ridiculous scenes. Such as when the police wants to question Billy about a brawl. Billy flees and before you know it, the complete police force (and special task force) is chasing him, as if he’s an escaped, most-wanted terrorist. Slightly exaggerated. The clashes in Mickey’s clubs looked rather amateurish and contrived. If you want to watch a decent film about the English underworld, then I suggest you watch “Legend“. And I am convinced there are better movies about hooliganism. “Top dog” was certainly not Premier League.