Star - Noel Clarke
Genre - Sports/Drama
Run Time - 91 minutes
Certificate - 12a
Country - GB
Awards - Nil
Blockbuster Rental- £1.49 per night
Amazon -£3.00 DVD (£9.38 Blue Ray)
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So 'Fast Girls', a shameless London 2012 warm up, as cliché as it was cheap, coming in at a declared £50,000 on the invoice so ever so slightly below the final bill for the Olympics. First time director Regan Hall simply didn't have enough clout to get the I.O.C. on board to sanction the movie and so use of the Olympic logo's and name not allowed, verbally or visually, making it a very different intention the production team ended up with, more Hackney Carriage than Chariots of Fire! The later re-jig caused writer Noel Clarke to drop the 2012 themes and create a fictional 2011 World Athletics Championship at the old Crystal Palace track instead, the scrambled together blue-collar girl makes good story-line ending up in Rocky territory. Sports movies are notoriously difficult to pull off, of course, especially in Britain where the dramas have already been played out for real, and so at least a pat on the back for trying to get us in the mood.
Lenora Crichlow .... as Shania Edwards
Lily James ... as Lisa Temple
Bradley James ... as Carl
Noel Clarke ... as Tommy
Rupert Graves ... as David Temple
Lashana Lynch ... as Belle
Phil Davis ... as Brian
Lorraine Burroughs ... as Trix
Dominique Tipper ... as Sarah
Hannah Frankson ... as Rachel
East End Outsider Shania Edwards (Lenora Crichlow from Being Human) can run like the wind. Her Coach (Phil Davis) trains her out at a run down inner city track as she slowly nears international level in the 100 and 200m sprints.
With 2012 approaching Shania beats golden girl and great white hope Lisa Temple (Downton Abbey's Lily James) in a big meet, signaling that intent. Pretty and well-to-do blond Lisa is from the nice side of town, a tension to be tested when UK Athletics invite Shania to join the British national 4x100m relay team of which Lisa runs the glamorous anchor leg, her pushy father (Rupert Graves) a previous Olympic champion so insuring her place with his influence.
GB coach Tommy Brown (Noel Clarke) has to try and gel the team together as the girls bitch, party, moan and flirt, Shania soon developing a crush on team physio (Bradley James) and an intense dislike of Lisa. After a botched handover in a big race they catfight on the finish line on live TV and so Shania kicked out of the team, her chance to go for a medal up against the all conquering Jamaicans and USA teams in tatters. But if the girls could just get it their act together and click they could actually do something and so it's down to Tommy and Carl to figure out how.
Like our infamously clumsy British relay team the baton is sadly dropped one or two times when it really matters here, quickly becoming a two dimensional sports movie with likewise characters, sad, considering its up and coming talented cast on the starting blocks. Some of the girl power stuff is a bit wincing and it's never totally convincing as bad girl from the wrong side of the tracks box ticks her way through the film in estuary English to the extremely predicable ending, hair extensions and all.
The script moves from one sports movie cliché to the next and you can see all concerned know this was not the film they signed up for, the substitute athletics venue for the national stadium and choppy camera shots to make it look like they are at real races all rather cheap looking.
Crichlow does her best with the perfunctory script whilst Lily and Bradley James play Top Shop mannequins. This is no Bend it Like Beckham folks, but Lily James still no where near as dreadful as Keira Knightley was in that one as the token sports totty. The ending they tease us to almost drags some emotions from you but you knew it was coming and so no real buzz there.
With its overcooked urban soundtrack and predictable South London locations and its cartoonish characters you can see that the now familiar Noel Clarke on our TVs can only really write one way on black/urban cinescapes, 'd'you get me'? Fair play to the girls for getting in top shape for the role but I can't say this did much for me and clearly a movie dumbed down to hit the lowest common denominator to trawl the widest possible audience, which wasn't a great deal of punters, in the end. I'm pretty sure if a more skilled director, producer and writing team had got hold of this it would have been quite a big hit. Just about gets away with it but quickly forgotten, like the men's relay hopes in the next Olympics.
Imdb.com - 5.7/10.0 (1,288 votes)
Metacrtic.com - N/A critic's approval
Rottentomatos.com - 65% critic's approval
Daily Telegraph -'Hall, making his feature debut, rarely strays from the underdog sports movie template, but the two appealing young leads come as a welcome blast of deodorant to this stale narrative armpit'.
The List -'Devoid of anything daring, Fast Girls makes some of the right motions but never rises above its cash-in status'.
PopMaters -'watching Fast Girls is a thoroughly enjoyable experience and a particularly welcome contribution to the genre because it focuses on female athletes competing in a non-glamour sport.
The Observer -'The social backgrounds are crudely etched, the races (edited to a synthesized rock score) unexciting, the results predictable.
What Culture Magazine -'Little more than a dull if mercifully brief promotional feature for the Olympics'.
Daily Express -'Directed by Regan Hall, this is benign, family-friendly fare (not as cool, edgy or sexy as I anticipated) and a cheerful enough warm up to the Olympics'.
Birmingham Post -'Predictable as the day is long, but it certainly makes a massive change from the usual crime-infested gangster movies set in London'.