Opens Friday, March 9 (U.K.)

LONDON -- Life in Britain has become ugly and lawless, and Sean Bean, as a disillusioned paratrooper just back from service in Iraq, plans to sort it all out the hard way in Nick Love's brainlessly entertaining action picture "Outlaw."

Despite knee-jerk motivation and plot holes as big as bomb craters, the film's grainy depiction of a group of no-hopers being trained as vigilantes by a deluded professional killer moves at a fast enough pace to please fans with a taste for random and noisy violence. It should make a fast profit and thrive on DVD.

Sgt. Danny Bryant (Bean) comes home from fighting an unpopular war to find the locks changed at his house and his wife ensconced with a new partner. Rapid exposure to the seedier side of life in England does nothing to improve his mood.

Lugging an unlikely amount of artillery to a hotel room, he discovers an oddball security officer, Hillier (Sean Harris), who has set up illegal CCTV cameras in every room with a plan to blackmail the occupants.

Intrigued by Bryant's arsenal of heavy-duty weaponry, Hillier coddles up to the ex-soldier, explaining that he'd have joined the army, too, if not for his police record. Bryant senses a kindred, if loony, spirit, and when his former commanding officer's Cambridge student son is beaten up by riffraff, he recruits Hillier to help start up a revenge squad.

Members soon include a lawyer (Lennie James) whose wife has been assaulted, a copper (Bob Hoskins) who believes the police are too timid with villains and a clean-cut young man (Danny Dyer) who is afraid he's not man enough to defend his pretty girlfriend from local thugs.

The "Dirty Dozen"-meets-"Death Wish" scenario plays out pretty much as you'd expect, and Love renders the plentiful violence in vivid fashion. There are lots of comments about how vile British life has become, what a mess has been made by political leaders and how terrible the behavior is of just about everybody, but especially immigrants. The answer, of course, is to shoot everyone, so that's what Bryant and his dimwitted gang proceed to do until the inevitable conflicts arise.

The actors are all too good for this kind of stuff, but they do the business, while Sam McCurdy's sharp cinematography and Stuart Gazzard's slick editing keep it all moving swiftly.

Pathe Films
Pathe Prods. presents in association with
Ingenious Film Partners a Vertigo Films production

Credits: Director-screenwriter: Nick Love; Producers: Allan Niblo, James Richardson; Executive producers: Francis Ivernel, Cameron McCracken, James Clayton, Guillaume De Challendar; Director of photography: Sam McCurdy; Production designer: Marcus Wookey; Editor: Stuart Gazzard; Music: David Julyan. Cast: Danny Bryant: Sean Bean; Gene Dekker: Danny Dyer; Sandy Mardell: Rupert Friend; Simon Hillier: Sean Harris; Cedric Munroe: Lennie James; Walter Lewis: Bob Hoskins; Kelly: Sally Bretton; Subaru Kid 1: Joe Jackson; Subaru Kid 2: Igor Smiljevic; Subaru Kid 3: James Farrell; Herself: Emily Maitlis; Big Kid: Sonic Rainer.
No MPAA rating, running time 105 minutes.