Despite the additional W in the title, this cute tale of wannabe film heroes is very much endorsed by Stallone and co, and rightly so.
The film delves semi-autobiographically into writer and director Garth Jenning’s – thankfully redeeming himself after the woeful Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – childhood somewhere in the early 80’s when summers were still hot and children could still throw themselves of rope swings into deep rivers, play on disused industrial sites and cause general harmless mayhem.
It is this feeling of the childhood of yore that really gives this Brit flick (although financed largely by French money after British investors dismissed it) its charming personality, backed-up by a terrific cast. The story centres around diversely different kids Lee Carter and Will Proudfoot (played by newcomers Will Poulter and Bill Milner to perfection), the former being the school rebel way head of his years, and the latter a shy child adhering to strict family rules under the Plymouth Brethren.
When Lee decides to steal his brother’s new high tech camcorder (which is about twice as big as him – this is 1980something), he hits upon the idea of recreating his favourite film First Blood to enter that year’s BBC Screen Test competition and employes the easily manipulated Will as his Rambo.
While this wouldn’t be enough on its own to carry the film, it is Jenning’s excellent production that lifts the film off the page through its mischievous humour. The many 80’s references are placed very much tongue-in-cheek, as is an excellent French exchange student character who bounces off the hair-brained ideas of his younger foes to great effect.
Jessica Hynes as Will’s protective mother brings a needed family aspect and alternative narrative to the film, which otherwise would be in danger of simply being a series of You’ve Been Framed style clips.
Despite its setting this was clearly never meant to be a film aimed at children. While it has the feel of The Goonies or Stand By Me, it is very much a retrospective, and in that respect lies its success. As a glimpse of moments of your own childhood it is perfect viewing for both little adventurers and those who wish they still were.