Mean Machine is director Barry Skolnick's British spin on the 1974 Burt Reynolds hit The Longest Yard. The film sticks closely to the story line of its predecessor. The main character is a former soccer star, Danny Meehan (former soccer… More Mean Machine is director Barry Skolnick's British spin on the 1974 Burt Reynolds hit The Longest Yard. The film sticks closely to the story line of its predecessor. The main character is a former soccer star, Danny Meehan (former soccer star Vinnie Jones), and the convicts play soccer against the guards, not American football. Matthew Vaughn, who produced Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, also produced this film. After leading the cops on a drunken high-speed chase, and fighting with them, Danny, whose pro career ended when he threw a game, ends up in prison, where he finds a surprising amount of resentment among the other inmates. As a friendly old-timer, Doc (David Kelly) explains, "You had everything they ever dreamed of, and threw it all away." Danny meets Sykes (John Forgeham), the gangster who basically runs the prison. The Governor (David Hemmings) (or warden) asks Danny to coach the guards' soccer team. They already have a coach, head guard Burton (Ralph Brown), who warns Danny to turn the job down. Instead, Danny proposes he organize a prisoners' team to give the guards a practice game. He gets help from Massive (Vas Blackwood), a small, amiable black man who describes his name as "ironic." The psychotic, drooling Nitro (Stephen Walters) makes recruiting difficult by accusing Danny of being a snitch. Things turn around, however, when Danny rescues Massive from a beating by a racist guard. This wins the other prisoners over, and Monk (Jason Statham), a maniacally violent alleged cannibal, becomes the goalkeeper. After a few practices, the team is ready to play the well-trained guards in a brutally dirty match. Every actor had to pass a "soccer audition" before being cast in the film, and they all do their own playing in the match.
Consensus: Despite some genuine wit, this crowd pleaser is filled with too many cliches.