Genre Grandeur – Mean Machine (2001) – Emma K. Wall

For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Prison Films, here’s a review of Mean Machine (2001) by Emma of

Thanks again to Jay of Life Vs. Film for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Ryan of Ten Stars or Less.  We will be reviewing our favorite Boston Film(s).

According to Ryan’s research, this is probably the best list of movies set in Boston

Here is what appears to be the official/unofficial list of everything related to Boston movies

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Apr by sending them to

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Ryan!

Let’s see what Emma thought of this movie:


Two British classics! Kind of. One British classic and another British….film.

Thanks to MovieRob for his usual tireless efforts in hosting another (great) Genre Grandeur and thanks to Jay from Life Vs Film for choosing such a cool genre as this month’s topic – prison films.

Now I have a bit of an obsession with prison stuff. Documentaries, autobiographical books, Banged Up Abroad…..and of course, prison movies. Love them. That’s why I had to review two.

Here’s the first one…

Mean Machine (2001)

And so on to the complete opposite end of the prison movie spectrum we now have Mean Machine, an utterly ludicrous film about a disgraced footballer (played by disgraced footballer turned actor Vinnie Jones) who is sent to prison and ends up playing on the prison team, shagging the receptionist, winning the respect of his suspicious peers, foiling a dangerous plot and getting in a few pickles, fights and such. I believe America made a sub-sub-sub-standard version starring Adam Sub-Sandler.

Yes Mean Machine is stupid. Yes it’s hugely (and I can’t stress that enough) inaccurate as prison life occasionally looks more like a lads holiday in Magaluf. It’s also cliché, corny and I suppose pretty much pointless at the end of the day but it’s still a lot of fun. The soundtrack is brilliant and I say that sternly and sincerely this time – meaning it ACTUALLY is brilliant, not just a crazy guilty pleasure film that I’m taking the opportunity of a review to rant about.

It also has a great cast that works well together and gives the film its energetic, entertaining feel. All of the actors are recognisable from other, good British films (such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) and some of them are well known too (Jason Statham, Danny Dyer). The casting is perfect and makes the film that bit better. The only person missing is Lovejoy (Ian McShane) and I can only assume he was super busy and had to say no. I know I’ve gone off on a tangent but what more can I say. Mean Machine is a fluffy, likable film that doesn’t depict realistic prison life in the slightest. Not unless cons are literally allowed to do what they like, though the Daily Mail would have us believe that’s true anyway.

4 thoughts on “Genre Grandeur – Mean Machine (2001) – Emma K. Wall

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur March Finale – White Heat (1949) – Life Vs. Film |

  2. Pingback: Double prison movie review: Scum (1979) and Mean Machine (2001) | emmakwall (explains it all)

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