• “Taken on its own merits it is a strong little film elevated by an excellent cast”. STAR RATING 4/5

Oh here we go, another low budget movie about the Krays, which is becoming as tedious a straight to DVD sub genre as the Essex Boys. But hold up, strike a light guv’nor – this isn’t actually another Krays biopic. Instead it’s the story of Frank Mitchell (played here with brutish relish by Josh Myers), the so-called ‘Mad Axeman’ and his jailbreak by the Krays and their subsequent disposal of him. Far from taking centre stage, the Kray twins slip in and out of the story like sinister puppet masters, controlling and manipulating events and make the film seem part of a bigger universe: a small pocket of action in an epic crime story. That said, their casting is a little hit and miss – Marc Pickering is confident and authoratitive as Reggie but lacks physicality, while NathanJohn Carter is a dead ringer for Ronnie but plays it a bit over the top and with a decidedly uncockney delivery.

The real star of the show though is Eastenders favourite Rita Simons, who plays Lisa Prescott, a ‘hostess’ hired by the Krays to keep Frank entertained while he is holed up in a safe house. Simons grabs her unusually strong, gritty female part in a genre film of this type by the horns and runs with it, giving the character a real empathy. There are nice parts for the other actresses too with both Janine Nerissa and Triana Terry proving memorable in smaller roles. The supporting cast of British film and television favourites is terrific, with fine turns by veterans Chris Ellison, Guy Henry, Nicholas Ball and, in his last role, the late Leslie Grantham. Newcomer Charlie Woodward makes a good impression too and is definitely one to watch in the future.

The film is efficiently shot and has a tight 80 minute running time and so never out stays its welcome. The music is fantastic and contributes to a production value that belies the presumably small budget.

Fans of the British gangster film aren’t as well served by the genre as they have been in the past and The Krays – Dead Man Walking proves a welcome addition to the mileau for an audience waiting for the next Rise of the Footsoldier or We Still Kill The Old Way. Taken on its own merits it is a strong little film elevated by an excellent cast and it can’t be long before a sequel is on the way.