Blow Par

It’s breaking records at the moment for opening-weekend business in Ireland. Like everything about the man known for “breaking necks and cashing cheques”, I find this baffling. All this doc is is an alter for his fandom to worship at, and ultimately contributes little to our knowledge or understanding of this divisive global figure. A missed opportunity. 

***

Conor Mcgregor: Notorious
Cert: 15A

THIS nation of ours can be neatly divided not only along party-political lines or brands of tea but also on Conor McGregor.

To his fans, the Dubliner is a sharp-witted Adonis and lofty athlete who rose from working-class origins to global fame through determination and discipline.

To his detractors, meanwhile, he is little more than a boorish, homophobic thug whose only obsession other than himself is lining his pockets in a brutally violent exhibition unworthy of being called a sport.

Gavin Fitzgerald’s slick film is unconcerned with giving McGregor and MMA a rigorous examination. Completed in intimate proximity to the UFC star (who also produces), this is a hagiographic, access-all-areas portrait designed to trumpet the man-myth and secure a Christmas bonanza of DVD sales by his devotees. If you’re looking for new insight, look elsewhere.

They will relish seeing their hero lounging in Las Vegas wealth-porn and filling his marble hallway with cackle after self-congratulatory cackle as the Diaz title bout looms. Boringly, the rags-to-riches-to-rematch narrative is structured precisely as you’d expect.

Strictly for McGregorites.

2/5

First published in the Sunday Independent

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Film review – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

YOU’RE ONLY SUPPOSED TO PULL THE BLAHDY SWORD OUT! Here’s my fackin’ Sunday Indo review, innit…

***

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Cert: 12A

THE Sherlock Holmes films saved Guy Ritchie by stabilising his stock in Hollywood once again. If he could reinvent a brand as ubiquitous as the Victorian super-sleuth, studio bosses probably reasoned, Ritchie could probably give the Camelot legends a millennial boot up the behind too. Right?

Ritchie’s cheeky-cockney-chappy shtick still manages to find a way into this kitchen-sink makeover of the Arthurian legends. The emergent Knights of the Round Table in this origins story have less to do with codes of chivalry and more to do with metropolitan hipster cool, as if a bunch of Camden baristas have been let loose at a battle re-enactment. Centre-stage, we get a very Conor McGregor-esque Charlie Hunnam (as Arthur himself) and Jude Law’s baddie, both far too groomed and modern to be at all convincing.

So intent is Ritchie on scrawling all over the mythology that he even has to crowbar ancient “Londinium” into the yarn despite it having little to do with the lore. Throw in an F-word and a David Beckham cameo and King Arthur… feels neither one thing nor the other.

Arthur, a wily orphan, leads his own crew in the mean streets of London. That is until he surprises everyone, including himself, by pulling the sword from the stone. He now has to join in the fight against the uncle who orphaned him (Law) by embracing his lineage and harnessing his powers.

Enjoy the CGI, but don’t expect to give it another thought.

2/5

First published in the Sunday Independent