STUDIO: Warner Bros.
MSRP: $27.99
RUNNING TIME: 108 min.
– Featurette
– Music video


“It’s West Side Story meets Fight Club, with soccer!”


Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani, Marc Warren, the British punched


Matt Buckner (Wood) gets booted out of Harvard after taking a drug rap for his roommate. Looking for a change of scenery, he heads to London to visit his sister Shannon (Forlani), who’s settled down with Englishman Steve (Warren) to raise a family. Steve’s brother Pete (Hunnam) takes Matt to a football (i.e., soccer) match, where he’s introduced to the world of “firms” – organizations of radical fans who brawl with those of opposing teams for bragging rights on the street. Matt may be an outsider, but he slowly finds himself integrated into the club and even develops his own notoriety.

"Oh, Sam… Gah! Sorry man, I’m still working that shit outta my system."


Of the tiny Fellowship members, Wood has probably achieved the most diversity in his post-LOTR career – a young Jew seeking familial history in Everything is Illuminated, a memory-eraser in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a silent cannibalistic killer in Sin City, and now Hooligans’ knuckle-dusting stranger in a strange land. Diminutive or not, he’s believable in roles that don’t require hairy feet and longing saucer-eyed glances at chubby co-stars.

Elijah wasn’t paying attention — he was too busy trying to figure out what this woman had done with Claire Forlani.

Writer-director Lexi Alexander finds the edge Wood needs to be convincing as the Ivy League journalism student invigorated by a lifestyle that requires pounding the pints out of other football enthusiasts. Hooligans’ story itself is as subtle as Vinnie Jones and as predictable as the United States’ poor standing in the World Cup: the skeevy guy’s jealousy of the newcomer leads to a doublecross, Shannon’s overprotective nature virtually dooms her ex-scrapper husband, the firm’s hatred of “journos” means Matt’s diary will be found and he’ll be ostracized, and a bitter rivalry will end in tragedy.

But in a country like America where the limits of devotion to professional athletes and teams involve memorizing statistics, buying excessive amounts of memorabilia and maybe going shirtless to display doughy painted torsos, Hooligans also offers a compelling and occasionally fascinating glimpse into another nation’s subculture of unwavering sports loyalty. And you will believe a former Hobbit can rumble. 

"Yeah, well for a little guy he took two like a champ! Smell!"


The picture is moody with punctuations of flowing crimson, and the Dolby 5.1 lands some crunching blows, but aside from a short promotional featurette and a music video, you get a steel-toe in the scrote for special features.

7.3 out of 10