Shrewd Eddie (Paul Freeman) is the petty crim who rules the roost on the Southend seafront. The sudden arrival of his boss, Jimmy the Gent (Peter Wight), in town to collect a case of dirty cash, brings chaos in its wake.
Hard Boiled Sweets is the latest in a slew of low-budget wide-boy crime capers to grace our cinema screens. Set amongst the arcades and donkey rides of Southend-on-Sea, this is Elmore Leonard writing The Only Way is Essex. We’re treated to an identity parade of hard-boiled stereotypes; the flaky old villains, the desperate ex-cons and the easy girls with ‘earts o’ gold. When local don Jimmy the Gent (Peter Wight) comes to town, they all hatch a plan to relieve him of his swag. A couple of stylised conceits and “arch” monologues can’t hide a poorly structured and increasingly cynical film bereft of humour or suspense. The truth is, the days of Bob Hoskins - and even Guy Ritchie - are over. Mockney gangsters once ruled the Albion, but this genre has taken a long swim off the end of the pier.
A miserable mess of gangland cliches and narrative tangle that deserves to be dropped off the end of Southend pier, preferably attached to an anvil.