Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Legend - The scoop and digest

Back in the 60s, the notorious Kray brothers ruled London's underworld and basked in the gangster limelight.

They remain cultural icons.

Casting Spandau Ballet brothers Gary and Martin Kemp as Ronnie and Reggie respectively in Peter Medak's 1990 flick was strangely inspired.

As is usually the case ahead of big cinema release, low budget straight to DVD efforts appear on supermarket shelves and Rise of the Krays makes flushing a turd seem interesting.

Based upon John Pearson's novel The Profession of Violence, what can Brian Helgeland's film say what countless books, interviews and newspaper accounts haven't already?

Tom Hardy - The Krays
Emily Browning - Frances
Christopher Eccleston - Det. Supt Nipper Read
Sam Spruell - Jack 'The Hat' McVitie

Completely ignoring childhood build-up, this focuses largely on Reggie's tumultuous relationship with Frances and places greater emphasis on Ronnie's psychotic paranoid schizophrenic.

During one of their trademark kangaroo courts, members of The Richardson Gang crank up the electricity bill.

Rumour has it, "Mad" Frankie Fraser pulled teeth, rather than legs.

Sick bastard.

Maltese scrap and bayonet through hand in snooker hall isn't recycled.

Although Barbara Windsor doesn't feature, Reggie mentions her to Frances at Esmerelda's Barn.

I'm pleased to report Browning is a vast improvement over her irritating predecessor (Kate Hardie).

As for actual person - poor cow.

Eccleston assuming the role of high-profile copper harks back to the good old days of Cracker and DCI Bilborough.

David Thewlis and Chazz Palminteri as Leslie Payne and Angelo Bruno respectively, bring sturdy support, but all are inevitably eclipsed by a certain dual performance.

The swagger of sharp suits emit contrasting sadism and Tom Hardy certainly brings substantial magic.

Reggie laces charm with convincing saccharin whereas the capricious Ronnie can be genuinely funny.

A barmaid is called before an ID parade to identify who shot George Cornell at the Blind Beggar pub.

Giving her the evil eyes, his face is an absolute picture.

After Reggie's brutal stabbing of Jack 'The Hat' McVitie, he nonchalantly queries "Why would you do that?"

Before trilby gets the point (several times), the gun jams, as per fact.

The aftermath of murder has been changed as Reggie leaves alone and takes a stroll beside canal.

Also, Payne is shown dead in the backseat of a car, inferring the twins ordered a hit.

In an earlier scene, Ronnie pays Jack £500 to kill former financial advisor, and promised a further £500 when carried out.

Apparently, the contract was worth £1,500.

No biopic is 100 per cent accurate, so historical inaccuracies are expected more than rats following the Pied Piper.

Ultimately, no matter what's said or written - the truth died with those concerned.

For all the f-bombs, c words and intermittent gory violence, this is a gritty but comfortable watch.

Siblings locking horns borders on silliness, with Ronnie grabbing nuts and Reggie throwing all the punches.

Knocking lumps out of each other in a boxing ring was more satisfying.

Remember Van Damme vs Van Damme in Double Impact?

If not, shame on you.

With a running time that doesn't outstay its welcome, Legend (also a 1985 Tom Cruise fantasy), ticks all the right biopic boxes and succeeds as a slick crime drama.

Comparable with Scorsese's Goodfellas?

Don't make me laugh.

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