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DVD Review

DVD cover

Vinnie Jones' Toughest Cops


Presenter: Vinnie Jones
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 03 November 2008

There seems to be a plethora of shows on at the moment which takes a look at the most violent aspects of our society, which invite the audience to participate as voyeurs and turns pain into pornography. To add to this dubious catalogue ITV produced Vinnie Jones - Toughest Cops.

The eight-part show is spread across two discs with four shows per disc, each show lasts about  forty-five minutes and takes a look at the work of various police forces as they try to bring law to some of the most lawless parts of the world. Don’t get me wrong I’m full of nothing but admiration for people who put themselves in harms way, for the greater good; I’m just not sure that turning their difficult work into an entertainment does them any justice.

The show is odd in another respect. Unlike Ross Kemp, who actually goes to meet dangerous gangs or dodges bullets in Afghanistan, you quickly come to realise that Vinnie doesn’t appear to have gone to any of these places. Rather you are given various shots of him in the same unnamed back road picking up spent bullet cases and looking concerned. He does narrate the show, but you also realise that the police are talking to someone else, whatever poor sap of a reporter who actually accompanied the police on their rounds.

Disc one covers the work of police forces in Colombia, El Salvador, South Africa and Kosovo. Disc one also has a few extras in the form of small vignettes, Police Cadet Training... Colombian Style (58 sec); El Salvador: Gang Member Interview (1 min, 36 sec); and Durban Mobile Patrol Unit (1 min, 39 sec), none of which really add to your understanding of the situation or the pressures that the police work under.

Disc two adds the troubled spots of Papua New Guinea, The Philippine, Brazil and Jamaica, giving  four more places to cross off as a holiday destination. Once more the disc has a number of short extras: The Equipment of a Sao Paulo Cop (1 min, 43 sec); Sao Paulo Cops (1 min, 37 sec); and Jamaica: Gang Members Interview (1 min, 44 sec).

The 16:9 picture is clear enough, though the quality is variable depending on the original equipment.

I’m sure that there are many who will love this DVD. The explosion of such shows, on late night television, is a testament to the audience’s desire and appetite for reality based violence; however I am not one of those people.


Charles Packer

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