The Hooligan Factory (2014): Who knew hooligans were so funny?

Who knew that soccer hooligan movies are a genre? And that they have been so successful that 2014 was a good time for someone to spoof them? The Hooligan Factory sat in my Amazon Prime watchlist for quite awhile because I assumed it was just another hooligan movie.

But with MLS in playoff mode, and with an international break to boot, I needed something to watch.

In the first few minutes, I saw what looked like Danny Dyer getting his face blown off. But I wasn’t sure. Was that really Danny Dyer? Now I was awake though. And then the narration comes up with,

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a hooligan.”

At this point, I begin to realize this is a comedy. About English football hooligans. And by the end of the film, I’m thinking, this is really clever.

In the story, young Danny wants to become a hooligan like his father was. When old-timer Dex is released from prison, Danny helps Dex and his Hooligan Factory fight their way back to being the top firm.

The Hooligan Factory is the first spoof of hooligan movies. The idea was developed by Writer-Director Nick Nevern and Jason Maza —who had been in hooligan movies themselves— in conjunction with co-writer Michael Lindley. They spoof scenes from the “classic” hooligan films: The Firm, Rise of the Foot Soldier, Football Factory, and Green Street Hooligans. The scenes put a comedic spin on something that everyone can relate to, but you don’t need to have watched those movies to get the jokes.

Actors from the original films have cameos, and supporters were used as extras, especially for the ruckus fight scenes (which are awesome by the way).

One of the cleverest scenes is when the heads of the firms get together, mafia style. One man asks, “Who in this room has got an autobiography coming out?” To which they all raise their hands. In research, I discovered that former West Ham hooligan Cass Pennant fits that stereotype and has a cameo in the film. Just reading Pennant’s Wikipedia page makes your head spin.

Supporting characters add sly humor such as Midnight, “the original Black hooligan”, and Old Bill, the undercover cop. And every good hooligan should adhere to Dex’s golden rules:

Always stand your ground

Always look after your tache (mustache)

Always wear the same clothes

True to the hooligan film genre, no football is depicted in this film.

The only parts of the film that I had trouble with were the female roles. Again true to the hooligan genre, the female roles are all naked strippers or sluts, with pendulous breasts. You can see how this affects the movie by looking at two trailers. One trailer is G-rated while the other has nudity. There is also a small storyline about Dex and Midnight having a bit of an intimate moment together.

And I guess I’ve overlooked the implied violence and gore— there’s more of it than just Danny Dyer’s head— but it always has a lot of silliness, sort of like a Simon Pegg film. Basically, Nick Nevern made a film that he would want to see in the cinema with 2 of his best friends. So perhaps this clever and funny film is best for 18 to 35 year old males. But I enjoyed it a lot.

In English with English sub-titles (always useful for us Yanks)

7 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 7