Mean Machine (2001) - Synopsis
2568 prisoners locked up 23 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only escape 45 minutes each way.
Danny Meehan (Vinnie Jones - gone in 60 Seconds (2000)) had it all - captain of the England soccer team, fast cars, money and fame; until he was banned from the team following accusations of match fixing an England v. Germany match and jailed for three-years for drunken assault on a police officer. "In this place you can hold up a bank, rob your old mam, even kill a bloke, but sell your country in a game. It's un-bloody English. " Both the guards and the cons make no secret about their feelings for a traitor and Danny looks set for a difficult stretch.
The Governor David Hemmings has pulled strings to get Danny assigned to his prison. He's put a lot of money into the prison guards' semi-professional soccer team with little result, and wants Danny to train the team to win the league. Siding with the Governor is a one-way ticket to prison hell, and so Danny proposes to train a team of cons to play against the guards as a pre-season warm-up. The Governor agrees, believing a bunch of cons to be no match for his guards. From this point on prepare to laugh and have fun as Danny takes on a tougher role than Sven Goran Ericsson, coaching a team of unfit, unreliable and unpredictable villains to play against the guards.
Against all odds he pushes his team into shape, training them to survive 45 minutes each way. The most important training of all however is yet to come. Dirty tactics - what they can get away with on pitch - after all they are a bunch of cons, it's to be expected.
With the help of the infamous Broadhurst Monk (Jason Statham - Snatch (1999)), a psychotic inmate who's recruited to play goalie, and Billy the Limpet (Danny Dyer- Human Traffic (1999)), a young inmate who idolises Danny, the team are lectured on the dirtiest tactics known to soccer. The Monk demonstrates twenty three soccer deterrents on Billy, from the elbow-in-the-face cruncher to the agonising nut twister.
Match day arrives the battle for supremacy on pitch between the screws and the cons commences. With 4 weeks of professional training behind them the cons look set for victory. But the Governor has an ace up his sleeve. Claiming to have evidence against Danny that could keep him inside for a very long time he blackmails Danny into throwing the game. But Danny has already promised the game to Sykes. Now he must face his toughest battle - let his team down and give the game to the governor or face a long sentence behind bars.
From producer Matthew Vaughn who together with Guy Ritchie brought Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (1999) to the screen, comes the re-creation of the 1974 Burt Reynolds classic Longest Yard, The (1974) - a prison action drama about the battle for victory on a prison soccer pitch. Barry Skolnick makes his directorial debut with the film. The script has been adapted by screenwriters Charlie Fletcher, Chris Baker and Andy Day. The film also stars Ralph Brown (Withnail And I (1987)) as head warden Mr. Burton and Sally Phillips as Tracey the Governor's secretary (Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)).