Bill, known to his friends as Wild Bill, has just been imprisoned for eight years for drug dealing. Now out on parole, he returns to his flat in a tower block in East London to find his two sons, Dean and Jimmy, living alone. Their mother abandoned them a while ago, so the respective fifteen and eleven year olds have been fending for themselves.
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Since their mum left nine months earlier, 15-year-old Dean (Poulter) has been taking care of 11-year-old brother Jimmy (Williams) by working in construction at the Olympic park. But Jimmy is failing at school and getting increasingly involved with a gang of local drug dealers (Gregory, Maskell and Rheon). Then after eight years in prison, their dad Bill (Creed-Miles) comes home, realising that he must show some responsibility to keep his sons from being taken into care. But they don't know him, and he doesn't know anything about being a father.
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Harry Brown (Caine) lives on a grim London estate where his quiet life is constantly interrupted by a gang of violent teens. As his wife lies dying in hospital, his best pal (Bradley) is the target of these thugs' abuse. And the detectives (Mortimer and Creed-Miles) looking into the situation don't seem to be doing anything about it. Pushed into a corner, Harry defends himself with his long-suppressed military training, then becomes more aggressive about cleaning up the streets himself.
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The Essex Boys is a thriller in the style of Payback, wherein we are encouraged to root for the bad guy -- or at least feel a little pathos for the bad guy's driver, poor Billy (Charlie Creed-Miles). When Jason (Sean Bean) gets out of jail after doing time for his mates, he decides to get a little revenge on those who figured he could run things without him. What follows is a rather wandering ride through the streets of Essex (yes, that's a city in the U.K.), with plenty of nudity courtesy of E.R. starlet Alex Kingston to break up the monotony of gun- and fistfights. It's interesting enough to watch even if you can't make sense of it.
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According to the studio advertising campaign, the 2004 mega-budget version of "King Arthur" is "the untold true story that inspired the legend" -- you know, the factual version in which Arthur is a brooding bore, Lancelot has hip, runway-model facial hair and Guinevere is a half-naked post-feminist warrior hottie.
Borrowing superficially from recent theories about Camelot's origins only as a jumping off point -- producer Jerry "Armageddon" Bruckheimer cares about cool explosions and box office receipts, not historical accuracy -- this commercialized concoction draws its regal hero (played by rising star Clive Owen) as an idealistic, half-Anglo high commander in the Roman army, which is in the midst of abandoning Britannia as a protectorate.
Arthur and his knights (Sarmatian soldiers reluctantly bound to imperial service) take it upon themselves to defend the now unguarded territory against invading hoards of barbarian Saxons from the north. But first they're sent on one last suicidal mission into Saxon territory to rescue a rich Roman family living there for no explored reason.
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