A way back in the early 1980s word of mouth was spreading about a great and violent Brit flick ( In those days things were really grim for British film making unlike the late 1990s ) called MCVICAR the true story of armed robber John McVicar who was branded Britain’s public enemy number one . I eventually got to see it on video in 1983 and was thoroughly disappointed by it Some people may say that if there’s any failings it’s down to a rock star being cast ( I’ll come to that in a moment ) but for me it’s the story that’s at fault or more specifically the way the story is told . John McVicar faces many years in prison and plans his escape . So in effect the audience are not watching a biopic of Britain’s most feared criminal , we’re watching a film not entirely different from COLDITZ or ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ . In fact this was produced round about the same time as the Eastwood star vehicle and I can’t help thinking this had much to do with it being produced . Tellingly MCVICAR has thre…
This one ranks up there with "Get Carter" (1971) and "the Long Good Friday" (1980) as one of the greatest UK gangster flix of all time. Roger Daltry is excellent in the title role, kind of like an English Papillon, except he’s not innocent! The soundtrack’s average but it does contain one truly funky, synthesizer-heavy instrumental ("Escape (part one)") that helps the action flow along better. Plus Daltry wears quite possibly the coolest pair of on-screen Adidas since Bruce Lee’s in "Game of Death" (1978) The only thing missing is Keith Moon as a maniac convict but you don’t have to like the Who to dig this one. I mean as McVicar himself says, "Being a thief is a terrific life. But the trouble is they put you in jail for it." Nuff said.
An absolute classic, with Daltrey portraying McVicar to a T. One of the best British gangster flicks, that will undoubtedly have taught Guy Ritchie a thing or two. Directed in such a way that the viewers sympathy lies unequivocally with the criminal, it relates a message without being pious. Very refreshing.