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The school of 90s Guy Ritchie is revived in this frankly ordinary British romp which is a comedy in everything except actually being funny. It’s a film about wrestlers: wrestlers like Big Daddy, Mick McManus, Les Kellett and Jackie Pallo, that is, those British grip’n’grapple legends made famous on 70s television by ITV’s World Of Sport. They are not the fancy modern American kind, and this film patriotically claims that unlike the American version, our native British wrestling wasn’t fixed. (Erm, excuse me?)
Stephen Graham does his likeable best to give this film some weight and bite playing Mark Bolton, a Scouse lad who grew up hero-worshipping wrestlers because his dad was one, part of an iconic group called The Panthers. But his old man never had any time for him and wouldn’t let him wrestle. He was effectively brought up by his dad’s mate and wrestling partner Ginger, played in latter years by Jason Flemyng, and Ginger is to have a poignant moment involving oranges, like Vito Corleone of old.
Now Mark is grown up, his dad (Dave Johns) is miserable because Brit wrestling is a thing of the past. But an impromptu bout in their local pub, The Half-Nelson, goes viral on YouTube and the Panthers are due a comeback – will there be a redemptive reconciliation between father and son? It’s a nice enough idea, and Julian Sands is entertainingly bizarre as a cowboy wrestler dressed all in gold. But the very broad, mugging performances are a problem, the comedy isn’t great, and it finally gets bogged down in geezer-sentimentalism about saving community pubs from the developer.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Walk Like a Panther review – Brit wrestling comedy that forgets to be funny | Comedy films