Mean Machine (2001)

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Released 4-Feb-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Alternate Audio-Original U.K Theatrical VersionOrDomestic Theatrical Version
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 95:09
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:43) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Barry Skolnick

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Vinnie Jones
David Kelly
David Hemmings
Ralph Brown
Vas Blackwood
Robbie Gee
Geoff Bell
John Forgeham
Sally Phillips
Danny Dyer
Jason Flemyng
Jason Statham
Martin Wimbush
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music John Murphy
Jeff Cardoni

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Alternate Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish Titling
French Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I enjoyed this film when I saw it at the cinema, again on television and now again on DVD. Following on from the success of Lock, Stock... and Snatch, this film used some of the same style and cast, although a different director. Guy Ritchie (the director of those other films) was involved as one of the producers. Many of the cast appeared in one or both of those films including Vinnie Jones, Jason Statham, Jason Flemyng, Jake Abraham and Vas Blackwood. Fans of Lock, Stock... or Snatch who have not seen this should give it a go, although I would not rate this film in quite the same class.

    Mean Machine follows the story of Danny 'Mean Machine' Meehan (Vinnie Jones), ex-captain of the England Soccer Team who was caught throwing a game. Following this his life entered a downward spiral, involving drink, fast cars and assaulting police. This lead to him being convicted of aggravated assault and ending up in Longmarsh Prison. The Governor (David Hemmings) has pulled a few strings to get him assigned to his prison, as he plans for him to coach the guards semi-professional soccer team. The guards, led by Chief Officer Mr Burton (Ralph Brown), convince Danny to turn down the governor's offer, via gentle persuasion. In addition to this tension, Danny is also nearly universally hated by the prison inmates because of his match-fixing as a player. The most powerful inmate is long-termer Sykes (John Forgeham), who believes Danny owes him because he lost a lot of money on the game Danny threw. Other inmates include Billy the Limpet (Danny Dyer) who hero worships Meehan, Monk (Jason Statham), a psychopath who has killed many men with his bare hands, Massive (Vas Blackwood) a very small black man ("It's Ironic"), Doc (David Kelly, who Fawlty Towers fans may recognise), a old prisoner, Nitro (Stephen Walters), a crazy psychopathic bomb-maker with a spittle control issue and the two Bobs (Jason Flemyng & Jake Abraham) who commentate the final soccer match. Rounding out the important cast members is a psychotic guard called Ratchett (Geoff Bell) and a prison full of funny and quirky characters.

    Danny tries to fix everyone's problems with him by proposing a game between the prisoners and the guards, which will give the guards a good pre-season trial. The game itself is the highlight and climax of the film. Unfortunately, the governor is a gambler and gets himself into trouble which adds extra pressure on the outcome of the game.

    I found this film to be fun, exciting and enjoyable. Interestingly, this film is based upon a 1970s American Football film, starring Burt Reynolds. That film is called The Longest Yard. The soccer action here is well shot and quite exciting, also including some amusing incidents between the guards and prisoners. The music used really adds to the feel of the film, as it did with Lock, Stock... and Snatch.

    I would recommend this film to fans of the films mentioned above, especially if they are also soccer fans.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is very good but not without issue.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. There was some light grain throughout. The shadow detail was very good but not required very often.

    The colour was excellent, well saturated with no colour artefacts. The blacks are excellent.

    From an artefacts perspective, there was some aliasing particularly affecting the blue striped shorts worn by the prisoners and one car grille at 5:11. There is also some obvious edge enhancement, which may be annoying if this artefacts particularly offends you. Additionally, there are quite a few instances of film artefacts mostly occurring in white lines and specks. None of the above artefacts are too distracting.

    There are subtitles in 9 languages including English. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read.

    The layer change occurs at 49:43 and caused a significant pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is excellent.

    This DVD contains five audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s (Original UK Version), an alternate English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s (US Domestic Version) and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks encoded at 448 Kb/s in Spanish, German & French. I watched the entire film using the original UK version soundtrack and some of the movie using the US domestic version. The differences are minor and seem to be restricted to small dialogue changes (e.g. 'taking a pony' vs 'taking a crap') and the softening of some accents. I don't really understand why these different versions are necessary and to my mind changing the vernacular defeats the purpose of a film set in a certain time and place.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand although it was slightly quiet compared to the rest of the soundtrack. I found myself turning the volume up for dialogue and down for sections of louder music. There was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by John Murphy is teamed up with some good songs from various artists which combine together to form a great soundtrack.

    The surround speakers added some really good directional effects and provided very immersive sound for scenes such as the crowd scene in the prison where two of the characters are fighting. You really felt like you were in the middle of the crowd, feeling the punches and hearing the roars.

     The subwoofer was used regularly for sound effects and to add bass to the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu included stills from the film and the ability to select scenes, audio and subtitles.


    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film has been released in the same format in Region 1 & Region 2.Go for whichever you can find cheapest.


    A good fun and enjoyable prison soccer film featuring many of the stars of Lock, Stock... and Snatch.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The disc has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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