When this Netflix original first pops up on your TV, the upper left corner warns “sex, nudity, language, smoking”. That warning is also an able synopsis of this Italian hooligan movie.
But Ultras is not all bad. The cinematography is sumptuous; the visuals are as much eye candy as Sandro (Aniello Arena*), the 50 year old Ultra who is quite buff. And maybe it is unfair to focus on his aging porn star physique and athletic sex acts, because his portrayal of a conflicted leader is worth watching. He quite believably switches back and forth from bellowing Ultra beast to romancing sweetie pie.
On the downside, the female characters are all sluts who are only there to provide T&A and be shagged. And of course, as with all hooligan movies, there is no soccer.
“He knows what’s coming. He’s seen how it ends. Whether he can escape his past and make a new start is anyone’s guess.”Netflix tagline
In the story, Sandro is the boss or capo of the Napoli Apache ultra group. He’s banned from attending games, and the next generation capo is eager to take his place and lead the group to new heights of supporter dominance. But Sandro’s aging companions won’t let him quit.
While that sounds like a reasonable plot from first-time Writer-Director Francesco Lettieri, the implementation is a bit odd for the Hooligan genre. About 70 minutes into the film, I complained to my husband that no one had died yet, and there hadn’t even been a fight.
And that’s because this hooligan film is not about mindless violence, it’s about mindless threatening. The lieutenants talk about fighting other teams, but the only things the Apache really do is drugs, throw flares, and paint banners. The first fight in the film is when the literally toothless old generation conducts a surprise attack on the young generation. You would think a beatdown like that would break up the group, but apparently not.
And the way these ultras revere their banners like religious relics is well, kind of weird.
* About Aniello Arena
In researching this film, I was shocked to learn that Aniello Arena is a former Comorra hitman serving a life sentence in prison. Around 10 years ago, he turned to acting and is allowed to leave the prison to perform. He is favorably compared to Robert DeNiro. You can learn more about the Comorra mafia in Napoli in the Maradona film; they were his benefactors and cocaine suppliers.
5 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 5