Rise of the Footsoldier 3: The Pat Tate Story, 2017.
Directed by Zackary Adler.
Starring Craig Fairbrass, Terry Stone, Roland Manookian, Billy Murray, Jamie Foreman, Larry Lamb, Shaun Ryder.
Prequel detailing the uprising of notorious Essex gangster Pat Tate before his murder in 1995.
It would be fair to say that anybody going into the third part of a movie series already has a good idea what to expect, and it would also be fair to say that anybody going into Rise of the Footsoldier 3 without having seen the first two films would also have a good idea of what to expect, that being gruff voices, casual violence, sex, drugs and the usual line-up of ex-Eastenders cast members dishing it all out whilst effing and blinding like it was an Olympic event. So with that in mind, you now know what you need to know about this film and can make your choice as to whether it suits your taste or not. You want more details? Oh, alright then.
Pat Tate (Craig Fairbrass – Cliffhanger/Eastenders) is a low-level criminal who has worked his way up the ranks of the Essex gangs and is about to break into the big time by scoring a drugs deal with respected crime boss Frank Harris (Larry Lamb – The Hatton Garden Job/Eastenders) in Marbella during the late 1980s. However, things go awry and Tate finds himself getting into more and more trouble as he starts making a name for himself with the big boys on both sides of the law with his uncompromising attitude and psychotic outbursts of extreme violence. Even a stint in prison, during which time he becomes a father, does little to curb his ambition for being the top enforcer and dealer in the business as he and his firm eliminate the competition and take over Southend.
And to bring you up to speed, in real life Pat Tate was murdered in a country lane in Rettendon, Essex, in 1995 alongside his friends Tony Tucker and Craig Rolfe, an event that was detailed in the first Rise of the Footsoldier. That film primarily dealt with the life of Carlton Leach, another underground criminal and associate of Pat Tate, and features Craig Fairbrass as Tate in what is really a secondary role, while Rise of the Footsoldier: Part II dealt with Leach’s reaction to the murders and how he continued his reign until going straight not long afterwards.
As previously stated, you already know if this is for you or not as it offers up no surprises but if testosterone-fuelled violence with very little in the way of plot, character development or dramatic range and yet still managing to be extremely watchable scores highly for you then Rise of the Footsoldier 3: The Pat Tate Story will be a joy to sit through. The film’s greatest strength and biggest weakness is Craig Fairbrass, whose limited acting skills and imposing screen presence make Pat Tate a thoroughly unlikeable character whom you cannot take your eyes off – which is really the point – but, and this is with all due respect to the man, the first Rise of the Footsoldier was a decade ago and Fairbrass is showing his age a bit here, a fact borne out by the obscuring of his face whenever a flashback from that earlier film is used, and during the Marbella scenes when he is supposed to be lapping up the then-new 1980s rave scene he looks like somebody’s dad who has come to collect them from a school disco a bit too early.
However, the supporting cast are quite enjoyable despite nobody really creating any characters that deviate from the Essex boy template. Terry Stone (Rise of the Footsoldier/ Eastenders) and his bad wig reprise their roles as Tate’s best friend Tony Tucker and he spends most of the film giggling and adding a bit of light relief to Craig Fairbrass’ intense but one-note performance, and Jamie Foreman (Layer Cake/Eastenders) creates probably the most likeable character in club owner Sam, who is probably the only person in Pat Tate’s life who can get through to him without needing to pull out a weapon and who tries to keep things on an even keel. Naturally, Billy Murray (Essex Boys/Eastenders) pops up – as you can’t have Craig Fairbrass in a British gangster film and not have Billy Murray in it as well – in a role that initially appears fairly thankless until you remember his character’s involvement in the first film, and, in a shameless piece of stunt casting, Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder appears as prison top dog Mad Dog for about two minutes which, if we’re honest, is probably long enough.
So there it is – a 100-minute movie about a ruthless criminal who smashes and bashes his way to the top with little regard for consequence, and if that is all you require in your crime dramas then Rise of the Footsoldier 3: The Pat Tate Story delivers and it delivers in a relatively stylish way, with some gorgeous aerial shots of Marbella and the Essex coastline in its full neon glory. The violence is bloody, well choreographed and when Craig Fairbrass starts throwing those brutal haymakers then he does still look the part, although had it not been made a decade after the film it is supposed to lead into then the scenes where you have to focus in on his increasingly craggy face may not seem quite so out of place. Mind you, if you’re going into Rise of the Footsoldier 3 looking for high-end movie making then you’re looking in the wrong place, and for all of its unintentional hilarity and bullish sense of self-awareness there is something endearing about how much the filmmakers are prepared to milk out of the Rettondon murders in the name of entertainment, and Rise of the Footsoldier 3 is nothing if not entertaining, if only on a very basic level.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★/ Movie: ★ ★ ★