Bonded by Blood (DVD Review)27 Jan, 2011 By: John Latchem
Stars Vincent Regan, Dave Legeno, Terry Stone, Tamer Hassan, Neil Maskell, Adam Deacon.
Bonded by Blood is a gangster movie loaded with gunplay, stabbings, sex and copious amounts of swearing — all you could ask for from the genre.
This is the third film (after 2000’s Essex Boys and 2007’s Rise of the Footsoldier) based on England’s Essex Boys Murders, a triple homicide that took place in December 1995, in which ruthless drug dealers Patrick Tate, Tony Tucker and Craig Rolfe were shot to death in a Range Rover.
The thrust of the story involves a rift that develops between key players in the Rettendon drug scene. The film begins with a focus on one of the accused killers, Darren Nicholls (Adam Deacon), expressing regret about the incident, and flashes back to 1993, with Nicholls meeting Mickey Steele (Vincent Regan), Jack Whomes (Dave Legeno) and Tate (Tamer Hassan) in prison.
Once they get out, Tate connects with old pals Tucker (Terry Stone) and Rolfe (Neil Maskell) to sell drugs out of their club, with Steele supplying the product and Nicholls and Whomes helping distribute. This gives the film an interesting dynamic as it focuses on these two groups of three men apiece.
Tate also happens to be a sadistic thug who has no qualms about killing anyone who even looks at him funny. After a girl overdoses at the club, Tate begins to sour on Steele and makes plans to take him out. Steele is equally fearful for his life, so he enlists Nicholls and Whomes to kill Tate, Tucker and Rolfe first.
A plot twist involving Nicholls sets up the film’s framing device and gives it a distinct Goodfellas vibe. Similarly to a lot of gangster films, most of the characters are unsympathetic criminals, leaving the audience rooting for the group that seems to have the most honor, which would be the Steele faction. Nicholls even expresses moral qualms about the plan to kill their rivals, since it would leave their children without fathers.
The DVD contains a lengthy list of extras consisting primarily of commentary and interviews with the cast and crew, a short making-of featurette, footage from the premiere and after party, and a tour of the house used for the Tucker mansion.