Starting off in a rundown area of Middlesbrough and culminating at Peterborough’s Fengate stadium, Thugs, Mugs and Dogs is 2006’s low budget crime film Six Bend Trap in different packaging.
The story revolves around Danny and his two hapless unlucky friends who are unwittingly drawn into a feud between the local, rather stereotypical, ruthless business man Gordy Metcalfe and his former greyhound trainer, a man ruined by the merciless Gordy.
The story of a group of local lads drawn into the crime underworld, a theme with which British film seems obsessed with, echoes Guy Ritchie’s debut, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. Thugs, Mugs and Dogs however, lacks the same style as Guy Ritchie’s film and indeed Ritchie’s follow-up to Lock, Stock , Snatch. While this has a lot to do with the differences in script quality, it also has a lot to do with the casts. Guy Ritchie’s films boast accomplished actors and well-known faces (Vinnie Jones, Jason Statham and Brad Pitt), while Thugs, Mugs and Dogs boasts self confessed gang boss Dave Courtney, Thomas Craig (the ginger guy from Corrie) and Mandy Dingle.
Even without comparing Thugs, Mugs and Dogs to bigger budget crime films, it still has its flaws. Firstly, the film is far too long for the amount of action that takes place. Extended dialogue is used to pan out the film unnecessarily. I am not sure whether the acting is very social realistic or just very terrible. Described as a black comedy, the comedy value must be considered. Throughout the film the jokes are very hit and miss – and they miss more than they hit. The action is very minimal and while the plot is relatively gripping at the start, the film loses speed and focus very quickly. The finale at the dog track is also a massive anti-climax.
Thugs, Mugs and Dogs attempts to weave stories and plots together yet only manages to tie itself in knots. Add some embarrassing jokes and some poor, poor acting then you are left with a poor imitation of mediocre British crime films.
Best performance: Martin Allen as Danny.
Best scene: The unconventional funeral which uses a Vauxhall Vectra as a hearse.
Best line: Gordy: ‘No I don’t think you have a leg to stand on’. (To the widow of a man’s whose legs he chopped off.)
Watch this if you liked: Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Love Honour & Obey.