LEGEND

LEGEND, the 2015 one – no Tom Cruise, is the opportunity for Bane aka Tom Hardy to beat the shit out of himself as he plays both lead characters, the renowned gangster twins, Reggie and Ronald Kray. In gangster rivalry it appears the Krays will be battling it out with Whitey Bulger aka Johnny Depp in BLACK MASS in the cinemas for the next couple of weeks. Kernel Blake hit this one up and reviews for Salty. KRAY KRAY aka LEGEND releases in Australia this Thursday 15th October from the fine folks at StudioCanal Australia. It is rated MA15+ and runs for 131mins. Enjoy Blake’s thoughts on the movie……all the best……JK.

 

LEGEND 2015 MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
LEGEND | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY BLAKE CURRALL

Gangster films based on true stories are like buses, you wait ages for them to show up and then two come along at once. After the sublime BLACK MASS that opened last week, we now have the story of the infamous Kray twins of 1960’s East London in LEGEND, starring Tom Hardy (MAD MAX: FURY ROAD) and…. erm Tom Hardy (MAD MAX: FURY ROAD)…

Hardy plays both Ronnie and Reggie Kray, notorious gangsters who were as much 60’s icons in England as the Beatles, Stones and Michael ‘Bloody’ Caine, already established as heavy players in my old stomping ground of Hackney, East London. Although they were violent and brutal gangsters, their rise to power also allowed them to rub shoulders with the London elite in many of their swanky nightclubs that they owned as part of their empire and were men of the people, looking out for their fellow East Londoners.

Without an origin story, showing the rise of the Kray twins, we open the film with a voice over from Frankie, Reggie Kray’s girlfriend-then-wife, played by Aussie Emily Browning (SUCKERPUNCH), filling us in on her future husband, the crisp-suited brains of the twins’ operation and his brother Ronnie, the certifiably insane, powder keg of rampage who is the immense brawn for the pair, while also being openly homosexual. But as Reggie says, he’s a giver not a taker…

 

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LEGEND | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | TOM HARDY CLONES PLAYING REGGIE AND RONALD KRAY

 

A chance encounter between Reggie and one of his cronies’ sister, the aforementioned Frances, gets the story moving with Reggie using swagger level 1000 to win the affections of his new sweetheart, who is swept up in the glitz and glamour of Reggie’s lifestyle. In the meantime a turf war is brewing between the Krays and their long time rivals, the Richardson gang.  When an ambush setup for the Krays turns on its head when nut job Ronnie literally flexes his muscles and teams up with his brother to wipe the floor with their would be assailants, we’re shown why you don’t mess with these brothers when they go totes Kray Kray. Thank you…and sorry. (Ed’s note: badum tish).

Just when an all out war is about to break out in East London, the head of the Richardson gang is busted by the rozzers and hauled off to the big house, opening up the East London playground for Ronnie and Reggie to run rampant without interruption. Despite Frances’ pleas for Reggie to go straight, the lure of the gangster life proves too much and the Kray twins expand their turf into London’s glitzy West End purchasing a club that becomes such a hit with the rich & famous that it begins to draw the attention of the US mafia.

 

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LEGEND | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | TOM HARDY CLONES PLAYING REGGIE AND RONALD KRAY

 

Always lurking in the shadows, is Scotland yard flat foot ‘Nipper’ Read (Christopher Ecclestone, THOR: THE DARK WORLD, DR WHO) a hard-as-nails-copper who has knows what the Krays are up to but can never pin anything on them, no matter how hard he tries. When he gets a thin chance to take the Krays down, Reggie is sent to the clink much to the behest of his suffering wife Frankie who again implores him to give up his gangster ways and play it straight, a request that Reggie promises he will do. PS. He won’t.

With Reggie in the slammer, Ronnie takes control and through his mental ideas of building a Utopia in Nigeria and nearly bankrupting the lucrative casino, things start to run off the rails for the Krays, which comes to a head when Reggie is released from prison and confronts his brother over their spiraling fortunes. What follows is one of the best fight scenes between an actor and himself since Jean Claude Van Damme in DOUBLE IMPACT, with Reggie and Ronnie coming to blows and Ronnie proving to be the ‘Bane’ of Reggie’s existence….again I apologize. (Ed’s note: badum tish).

Although nearly beating seven shades of shit out of each other, the Kray’s prove that blood is thicker than water and yet again, against the wishes of his wife to escape, Reggie backs his brother in all the way and signs a deal with the Las Vegas mafia to provide protection for their expansion into Europe, bringing with it huge rewards for the brothers but at the same time makes Frances realize that her dream husband is never going to change and sees the two drift apart.

 

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LEGEND | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | REGGIE KRAY (TOM HARDING) AND FRANCES SHEA (EMILY BROWNING)

 

The third act of LEGEND does start to lose its way somewhat, with Frances and Reggie’s relationship disintegrating leaving the brothers to keep on keeping on with their crooked ways. Based on true events, writer/director Brian Helgeland (writer of LA CONFIDENTIAL) seems to pick and choose which parts of the story would make for a more entertaining movie, while seemingly omitting important periods of their lives.

As it stands, LEGEND is an enjoyable film with some great comedic moments mixed in with the often times brutal day to day activities of our main protagonists. Hardy, as always, is simply brilliant as both Kray brothers, playing Reggie with an almost Bond-esque cool, while his Ronnie is a crazed lunatic who has a soft spot for young gentlemen and good old fashioned shootouts.

It’s an incredible performance from Mr Rockatansky who, somehow, is able to create chemistry with himself. While always on the verge of going over the top, Hardy reigns things in and due to the story being told through Frances’ eyes, his characters appear larger than life, hence the title.

Emily Browning shines as the fragile love interest and narrator for our story, while Ecclestone and a surprise inclusion from Chazz Palminteri (arguably one of Hollywood’s best names) also turn in solid performances during their limited screen time.

On its own, LEGEND is an enjoyable film that loses its way the longer it goes on but when compared to BLACK MASS, it is Depp’s biopic that stomps on the throat of Hardy’s London gangsters. Plus, the creators missed a huge opportunity not calling this film Kray Kray.

 

3 Pops

 

 

Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life, like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. Can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80