This movie,back to back with the first half of their story(The Rise Of
The Krays) immediately makes it clear that 2 hours is not enough to
tell the story of the UK ganglands' most (in)famous sons.
It dares to tread new ground previously avoided in The Krays(1990) and
Legend(2015),exploring the stories of the messy business of the
disappearance of Frank'The Mad Axeman'Mitchell and 'Mad'Teddy
Smith.Clearly having Mad in your nickname was a dangerous situation if
you were an associate of the Krays.
The storyline itself is well presented,albeit with an obviously low
budget which,in this telling,actually works quite well,giving this dark
period in British history the gritty feel that Legend put too much of a
sheen on.In some places though,the acting is cringeworthy.George
Cornell delivers the legendary line,"You fat poof",with all the menace
of a sulky teenager,and the fact that the actor playing him is carrying
a few extra pounds,while the target of his jibe doesn't have an ounce
of fat out of place,had this viewer laughing at the exchange,and
half-expecting Ron to jibe back"Well,you're fatter than
me,George!".That said,the actor playing Cornell certainly looked like
the real person.Frankie Fraser has also mutated from a small,slightly
built cockney wideboy into a hulking,imposing thug.Jack McVitie also
seems to have been reinvented as Jack the occasional hat,as he is more
often seen sans his trademark trilby hat,and despite a rather cheesy
delivery in the shotgun scene,the actor playing Jack delivers an
engaging performance,with the merest hint of comedy during his opening
Kevin Leslie as Reg is largely a support character to Simon Cottons'
Ron,and while they have been criticised for not looking alike,I don't
think thats too much of a factor.The Kemps didn't look alike either and
they ARE brothers.Ron sometimes comes across as a pantomime baddie,with
Reg as a brow-beaten subordinate,but many reports suggest that isn't
too far from the truth.Leslies performance is just a little too likable
for a legendary gangster.He just doesn't have the sinister air about
And once again,older brother Charlie seems to have been stricken from
the Kray family history.
I don't think this movie is what you could class as 'enjoyable',given
the subject matter,but,arguably,it can definitely be labelled as
interesting.What it doesn't do is paint them as the legendary heroes
that history so often seems to do these days.
It is definitely different from the 1990 movie,which I believe was made
long before it should have been,with the Sheas becoming the Lawsons,the
Richardsons becoming the Pelhams,the Lambrianous becoming the Ripleys,
Jimmy'Cannonball'Lee getting drunk,and Cornell and Jack the Hat being
murdered on the same night.
And of course it differs widely from the big-budget
'Legend',which,while being peppered with some hilarious scenes,albeit
unintentionally funny in places,is also peppered with
falsehoods,errors,and blatant lies in places.and Ron Kray seemingly
turned into Eric Morecambe for inspiration.
There are many reasons not to like FOTK.Probably more than there are to
like it,but if you forgive the odd ropey acting turn,and you have a
curiosity to see various legendary events from the Twins career finally
being played out,then this movie is for you.If,however,you know nothing
about them,and have no desire to,then maybe Legend would suit you more.
As a movie,Legend beats ROTK and FOTK hands down.But as a biopic this
2-parter wins out.