The Reducer Podcast has thus far rattled through a fair chunk of what we are going to euphemistically title the Pantheon of Piss. Football has lent itself to a wide-ranging of utterly dreadful movies, and we have seen most of them. There's FIFA's preposterous propaganda film United Passions; Green Street 2 which (spoiler alert) ends with a prisoner in prison being arrested by prison guards and sent to, eh, prison; the Mike Ashley-starring threequel put together for roughly the price of a bag of cans, GOAL 3; and a 48-minute documentary about the friendship between Gary Lineker and the snooker player Willie Thorne.
But they are all, sadly, Citizen Kane compared to the 2017 film Dangerous Game, starring Calum Best and some other people drawn from the strange antechamber of brief British fame.
The full discussion on the movie is the subject fo this week's episode, and it can be listened to below. (Ideally, instead of doing that, you will subscribe to the show on either iTunes or your Android app because that helps to pay the bills).
"The lowest and most dejected thing in fortune has no fear", wrote a man without a Dangerous Game writing credit. That is the position The Reducer now finds itself, having finally plunged into the flotsam of football culture known as rock bottom.
To sum up Dangerous Game: it is the first draft of a then-rejected script for Midsomer Murders set in the Pro Evolution Soccer universe cast almost entirely from ITV4.
The premise: Calum Best plays a 'Premiership' striker called Chris Rose, who completes a big-money move to 'Premiership' giants [checks notes] West Stratford from fellow 'Premiership' giants [checks notes] Loughford FC. It's a dream move for Chris, what with it being his late father's former team.
From there, however, it begins to go awry: Rose clashes with another new striking recruit Frenchman Marcel Remy, and slags him off for eating too many croissants, to which Marcel says that he rode Rose's Ma.
Off the field, his friend Adam Chopra - who spends much of the movie describing out loud exactly what he happens to be doing: 'Where is it!?';' 'I found it!"; "I'm overweight!"; "I need to get over this wall!" - finds himself in debt to the local Russian mafia.
To save his friend, Best/Rose agrees to deliberately lose a game in order for the mafia to make their money back through the bookies, but then inexplicably scores a late winner and launches into a lengthy and uncomplicated celebration, forgetting the deep angst he was suffering from before the game. From there, Rose gets kidnapped and he and Chopra launch a series of local heists to make up the £2 million they owe to the Russians. (Their accents, by the way, are a disgrace, consisting of little but converting 'v's to 'w's and the occasional elongated 'e').
They don't exactly rob the Bellagio: they make their £2 million back from thieving shoe shops and filling stations, all the while wearing masks of David Beckham and Wayne Rooney. If you are wondering how they managed to make their money back, then wonder no more: they managed to pull off a daring raid of the most inexplicably high-end Foot Locker around. Having made off with cash from the register and around 20 unmatched display shoes, they assure us they made off with 200 grand in stock.
We won't give away the ending, partly out of a desire not to spoil the movie but mainly out of the fact we didn't care at that point and started focusing on things better constructed (The Leaning Tower of Pisa; The Arguments of Peter Casey), of more spiritual nourishment (the Amish doctrine; scoliosis) and of more enjoyment (death).
It is stunningly lazy, to the point where it cannot even get the football right. The 'stealing events' as Best brilliantly quips take place during the football season, and we are later told that the Daring Shoe Raid takes place on July 18th, hot-shot 'Premiership' striker Best is making the extravagant and decadent wage of, eh, five grand a week, while Martin Tyler and Chris Kamara make an appearance as commentators over a football sequence consisting of real match footage (filmed at night) and staged close-ups involving Best (filmed during the day).
Elsewhere there are scenes of flagrant product placement for a brand of 'wodka' and lengthy, banal monologues on The Thing That Happens To Be In Someone's Hand. "Isn't it amazing how much more phone can do aside from make calls?". It is also dreary to the point of Modernism, and features the most half-arsed endangerment of a child in film history: a kid actor is reads 'Help.....Help....[turns page]....Help' as he gets crushed against a barrier that isn't a barrier but is actually just two sticks and a bit of rope, meaning it doesn't perform even the most rudimentary tasks required of a barrier/foil for an endangered child actor.
The trailer is below: notice that the comment section beneath it is disabled. At two minutes it feels outrageously long; the kind of sprawling epic after which the above child actor might have developed facial hair and a smoker's cough.
The film is a slim 90 minutes that lasts an eternity, so the best way to digest it is by listening to the most episode of The Reducer podcast.