Mean Machine
R
Entertainment: +1 1/2
Acceptability: -3 1/2

When ex-soccer star Danny Meehan (Vinnie Jones) is sent to prison for drunk driving and assaulting an officer, the warden recruits him to coach the prison guards soccer team. But the chief guard puts pressure on Meehan to reject the offer, for his own pride in being able to coach the team. With Meehan feeling pressure from both sides, he comes up with a compromise - coaching a team of convicts in a game against the guards. When everyone accepts, the real work begins. Not only must Meehan find men who can actually play soccer well, but he also has to navigate jailhouse politics with the cons in charge. The chief inmate is Sykes (John Forgeham), and Meehan must deal with him to get enough players to even compete against the guards. Eventually, however, the film gets to the climactic game, which is creatively shot and peppered with funny lines and physical comedy. Like 1974s THE LONGEST YARD, which this movie strongly resembles, the game is the cornerstone of the film, and the chief reason to enjoy it. Switching between lighthearted comedy and some heavy-handed dramatic scenes, the first half of the movie seems rough and uneven. That first hour, along with a limited release, will slow the progress of MEAN MACHINE.

In the movies opening sequence, a drunken Meehan speeds away from pursuing police officers. When they finally catch up with him, Meehan swings a punch at them, which lands him in prison. However, the soccer star is not really popular there. While everyone recognizes him, they remember him throwing a match earlier in his career falling down on a play and allowing the other team to make the winning score. Meehan clearly feels sorry for his past action, attributed to his failure to control a gambling problem. But, the films dialogue includes more than 60 obscenities and nine moderate crudities. While a lot of the soccer game action includes violent contact, most of the events produce a comedic effect and do not seem gratuitous. But frequent foul language puts the mean in MEAN MACHINE.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Distributor: Paramount Classics, 5555 Melrose Ave., Chevalier Bldg., No. 215, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Summary
Crude Language: Many (11) times - Mild 2, moderate 9
Obscene Language: Many (61) times - F-word 48, s-word 7, other 6
Profanity: Few (3) times All Regular (J, C, C Sake)
Violence: Many times Moderate (many punches thrown during fights, men hit with club, people pushed, man dragged through hall, man hits head on wall, mans face cut, man choked, man head butts another, mans foot stomped on, elbow in face, kick in crotch)
Sexual Intercourse: Once Implied (unmarried couple passionately kissing)
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (man wonders if another had sex, hand motions made for unconventional sex and self-gratification)
Drug Abuse: Once (alcohol)
Other: Man runs from police; film portrays dangers of gambling
Running Time: 98 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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