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Hard Boiled Sweets Blu-Ray Review

Director: David L.G Hughes

Starring: Paul Freeman, Peter Wight, Ty Glaser, Nathaniel Martello-White

Certificate: 15

Running Time: 84 minutes approx

Extras: Pick n’ Mix: The Making Of Hard Boiled Sweets, Deleted Scenes, A Girl And A Sweet Documentary, A Girl And A Gun short

British gangster films are ten-a-penny; since Guy Ritchie burst onto the scene with LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS (1998) there have been a truly hideous amount of films that have tried to give us something new, and few have been as successful as Ritchie’s debut. HARD BOILED SWEETS (2011) is David L.G Hughes attempt at freshening up the genre, utilising Ritchie’s multi-character, multi-story structure.

HARD BOILED SWEETS sets out its stall early on, beginning with an old-school boss, Jimmy ‘The Gent’ (Wight), being threatened by Leroy (Danny Sapani), ‘the new boss’, and Jermaine (Martello-White), the second in command, for monies owed. One of the debtors, Shrewd Eddie (Freeman), is boss of Southend-on-Sea who has a fair few enemies, none more so than his live in prostitute Porsche (Glaser), assistant Dean (Philip Barantini) and his lackeys Pimp (Adrian Bower) and prostitute Delta (Laura Greenwood); added into the already dizzying array of main players are newly-released convict Johnny (Scot Freeman) and bent Copper Fred (Rene Zagger). What follows are numerous plots to steal Jimmy The Gent’s money – along with Shrewd Eddie’s – told through the perspective of all the main protagonists leading to a final coming together.

Where HARD BOILED SWEETS falls into trouble is the aforementioned number of similarly structured films; Guy Ritchie’s London-crime films along with big-budget films like PULP FICTION (1994) and MAGNOLIA (1999), so you could say it has some stiff competition. Don’t, however, let that put you off; whilst David L.G Hughes’ debut will not blow you away it tells its story in a clear and concise way, which must be applauded given the many facets and characters on show; its pitfalls, however, are exactly the same. The ending is predictable from very early on in the piece and given the actual simplicity of the story it’s hard for the characters to stand-out from one another, and in truth many are terrible stereotypes of characters seen too many times to mention.

HARD BOILED SWEETS is a film that has to be praised given the low-budget and the cast are uniformly solid, if not spectacular; its main issue is an apparent belief it will shock and the story is too linear for that to be possible. But the director shows much promise in his execution and I for one will keep an eye out for David L.G Hughes.

Extras: The Making Of is in effect half an hour of talk on the low-budget and how great the script is, the usual stuff, deleted scenes are nothing to write home about, whilst the original short is exactly what you’d expect; a lower budget simpler tale, only with a different ending. The final featurette on the original short is not necessary in truth.

   HARD BOILED SWEETS is released on Bu-ray and DVD 30th April.

Sam is a bloody lovely lad born and raised in Bristol (he’s still there and can’t escape). Favourite films include THE LOST BOYS, DRIVE, FIGHT CLUB and COMMANDO, well pretty much any 1980s Arnie film you can throw his way…even RED SONJA. Sam once cancelled a Total Film subscription after they slagged off Teen Wolf. He resubscribed 2 days later.

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