Yardie starts off with gang violence in Kingston, Jamaica, and the wars between the Tappa and Spicer gangs, with D – aka Dennis (Aml Ameen) narrating the story as he sees his friends cut down in their prime, as well as children being killed, showing how depressing it is that such atrocities can take place.
Six years later, in 1983, he has a chance to escape from Kingston and go to London, but to do some assigned drug-based business and then head home. However, what follows feels like about an hour of plot stretched out into 100 minutes, and it includes the oddest piece of casting I’ve ever seen, with Liverpudlian Stephen Graham playing rastafarian Rico.
Maybe there was a deeper story in the novel, from which this movie spawned, but the onscreen result comes across as a very formulaic ‘avenge the death of my friend’ movie, and nothing we haven’t seen before (other than Graham’s appalling attempt at a Jamaican accent). For example, there’s a scene where D is with another man, shooting at some baddies (I’m being vague so as to avoid spoilers, as he hangs out with a lot of people), and as the man is hit and lays dying, he makes sure to utter the last words, “Did we get ’em?”, and all of this comes across as incredibly cliched.
Note: You REALLY need the subtitles on for this, give the sharp accents.
The film is presented in the theatrical 2:35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and in 1080p high definition and it looks as crisp and clear as you’d expect from a modern movie.
The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and is mostly a dialogue piece, but there’s some great use made of all the speakers for the music scenes.
The extras are as follows:
- Deleted Scenes (5:02): Three scenes, here, and completely inconsequential. There are no subtitles in these so I can barely understand what’s being said.
- Featurettes: ‘ette’ is the word, as these are just puff pieces for TV companies to slot in to programmes like BBC Breakfast, mixing clips from the film with chat from the cast and Idris Elba. The two here are D’s Journey (2:26) and Idris Elba’s Directorial Debut (1:43).
- Idris Elba In Conversation with Aml Ameen (13:08): The director and star chat about the film, interspersed by clips.
- Idris Elba In Conversation with Blacker Dread (12:53): This focuses on the Brixton record store owner who has been credited with keeping youngsters out of jail. You can read more about him here.
- Interviews: Less ‘interviews proper’, but one of those Q&A ‘interviews’ where the Q is a caption, and the person onscreen gives the answer. Again, this is for the purposes of programmes like BBC Breakfast and features Idris Elba (7:52), Aml Ameen (8:11) and Shantol Jackson (6:23).
The main menu features clips from the film to a piece of the score. Subtitles are in English only and there’s the bog-standard 12 chapters, although I go by the rule of thumb of one every five minutes, so that would make 19 by my book. Annoyingly, there are trailers BEFORE the main menu. NO! STOP!
Running time: 101 minutes
Released: December 26th 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD-MA
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Idris Elba
Producers: Gina Carter, Robin Gutch
Screenplay: Brock Norman Brock, Martin Stellman
Novel: Victor Headley
Music: Dickon Hinchliffe
D: Aml Ameen
King Fox: Sheldon Shepherd
Clancy: Riaze Foster
Yvonne: Shantol Jackson
Rico: Stephen Graham
Skeets: Rayon McLean
Jerry Dread: Everaldo Creary
Raggz: Mark Rhino Smith
Marcus: Christopher Daly
Young Yvonne: Reshawna Douglas
Young D: Antwayne Eccleston
Beverley: Alexandra Vaz
Claudette: Chris-Ann Fletcher
Rupie: Paul Haughton
Beenie: Johann Myers
Tyrone: Jumayn Hunter
Sticks: Calvin Demba
Darkers: Duramaney Kamara
Engin: Adnan Mustafa
Piper: Fraser James
Red Catz: Micah Williams
Mona: Naomi Ackie
Rita: Tanika Bailey
Vanessa: Myla-Rae Hutchinson-Dunwell
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.