Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 25
  2. Negative: 5 out of 25
  1. A likably energetic star vehicle for English sports god Vinnie Jones.
  2. 75
    Guy Ritchie, who started out as such an innovator in "Lock, Stock, etc.," seems to have headed directly for reliable generic conventions as a producer. But they are reliable, and have become conventions for a reason: They work. Mean Machine is what it is, and very nicely, too.
  3. 70
    I'm not sure Mean Machine is any worse than "The Longest Yard," but it lacks the nihilistic '70s background that lent the latter's combination of humor and brutality an air of (arguably bogus) social commentary.
  4. Mean Machine may not have the resonance to linger in the memory affectionately as "The Longest Yard" does, but it plays well, with a fast pace and plenty of punch.
  5. 70
    Mildly exciting sports-in-prison movie.
  6. Sports movies are never easy to pull off, but Skolnick does a fine job of balancing the drama with the on-field action.
  7. 50
    Disappointingly straightforward remake.
  8. In Mean Machine, soccer is pretty much an excuse to watch a bunch of grown men smashing their heads together. Which, come to think of it, may be enough.
  9. 50
    Accomplishes a near miracle -- this British import makes you yearn for Burt Reynolds, who appeared in a vastly more entertaining version of the same story.
  10. Takes a long time getting started and doesn't hit its stride until Danny starts coaching a team of fellow cons -- think "Bad News Bears," just nastier.
  11. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    More machine than mean, although it's anything but a smoothly running operation.
  12. 50
    This amiable picture talks tough, but it's all bluster -- in the end it's as sweet as "Greenfingers."
  13. There's just no juice to this thing, merely a bunch of fitfully funny gags and a climactic football match that, under Skolnick's direction, fails to show us why the Europeans find this so exciting.
  14. 50
    It does, however, fairly bubble with speed-freak energy and a dry, laddish wit that keeps the jokes coming.
  15. The surface is rough and profane enough, and the acting sufficiently restrained, to cover the sentimental story with a varnish of gritty realism. But stylish bravado and bad-boy performances don't make the film any less predictable.
  16. Against heavy odds, Mean Machine adds darker flavors to the plot without curdling it. Beneath the comic craziness is real craziness, and desperation. These goal-kicking, bone-crunching cons are both actors in and prisoners of their own horror show.
  17. After too many ''Full Monty''s, it has come to look like nothing so much as a coy ritual of emasculation.
  18. 40
    While competently staged and punched up by Lock, Stock's changing camera speeds, it doesn't have the wit or intrigue to sustain its half-length.
  19. Reviewed by: Justine Elias
    The most off-key notes here are the sentimental ones: When David Kelly shows up, reprising the wise-trustee role he had in the horticulture-behind-bars movie "Greenfingers," it's as though some twee script gremlin sneaked in and meddled with the Guy Ritchie schematics.
  20. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    OK entertainment but nothing more.
  21. 33
    A by-the-numbers recipe that ought to have shot off at least a few sparks, is as drab as the inmates' prison blues.
  22. I found it a rough night at the flickers.
  23. If you have any desire to see this movie, you really should go rent "The Longest Yard" instead. It's available on DVD, and the '70s hairdos alone are worth the rental price.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Sep 1, 2010
    English remake of the 1970's Burt Reynolds American football romp.
    Former England captain, off the rails, gets arrested for drink driving,
    assault, etc then ends up in prison with several unsavoury characters.
    He then gets together a team of inmates to play against the guards.
    It's ok in parts, Jones plays himself, Statham is ok until he speaks & it's all a bit bland. David Kelly & Danny Dyer are good though & the music isn't too bad.
    Full Review »
  2. MartinH.
    Sep 3, 2006
    Great movie! Action, Drama, and Comedy all in one package.
  3. AlexW.
    Oct 20, 2005
    I know is This British remake of 1974's "The Longest Yard" is set in a rough-and-tumble British prison. BUT independent of it is an excellent performance, great humour, nice picture, music goes right to the action on film, every detail is there. I think even it is and adaptation it is a much better version. New times are sometimes better. I love the movie, I laugh and laugh. Full Review »