Wayne Virgo returns as troubled Bristol teen Cal in Christian Martin’s sequel to Shank (2009).
The film catches up with Cal as he returns home to the UK having recently split with his French boyfriend and clutching a letter carrying the news that his homophobic mother is dying.
Returning to the scene of his past misadventures, Cal is soon back to a life on the wrong side of the law in a story set in Bristol’s scummiest backwaters.
One of the attractions of Shank, and why it’s a better film than many British crime/gang flicks, is that it focussed on a character open and willing to being lifted out of the gang culture.
The first film fuses a ‘coming out’ tale with the story of a young man who wants to escape the life of violent crime that he sees heading his way.
Disappointingly this sequel is a huge step backwards for the character who, when faced with the loss of his passport and money and the petty bureaucracy of the Job Centre, quickly resorts to his old ways.
Although Cal expresses a weariness at the decisions he takes, the story never really convinces that he has no alternative. His return to crime appears to simply be an easier story choice than really developing the character.
The sequel lacks the freshness and optimism of the original and the ending is likely to disappoint many of the first film’s fans.