Poison Arrows

This is the darts mockumentary that is long overdue, especially for its makers who have taken 22 years to finish it. It’s the story of Rocky Goldfingers, a 6 times world darts champion put in prison for the murder of his darts protege Perry ‘the Poison Arrow’ Peters. It’s a crime he denies doing and his quest to uncover the true culprit is being documented by filmmaker Lewis J Maitland who’s hoping to win himself an elusive BAFTA award.

The film goes back to the heyday of Rocky Goldfingers showing him strutting around the Lakeside Country Club, the one time home of darts, during the 2003 World Darts Championship. Rocky is mercilessly mocking the players in the press area and players’ bar showing off his “different class of sledging” as well as delivering his match winning performances. This all comes to an abrupt end when he’s put in jail after the mysterious disappearance of his protege Perry ‘the Poison Arrow’ Peters.

Documentary filmmaker Lewis J Maitland (Ben Gardner Gray) narrates the story giving a quick history of the darts before bringing us to the present day by which time Rocky has spent 15 years banged up in jail. On his release Rocky discovers the world is a very different place to the one he left behind, not least because his wife has left him and Martin “Wolfie” Adams has moved into his home, “the house that darts built”. No longer the golden boy of darts Rocky is battling against the odds to try to find out who “stitched him up”.

Starring Geoff Bell (Greenstreets, Kingsman: Secret Service) as Rocky Goldfingers, who is full of the kind of cockney swagger that got him cast in Guy Richie’s “Rock ‘n’ Rolla” and James Harkness, as Terence, Rocky’s cellmate and sidekick, who brings another entertaining, this time Scottish accent to a script full of funny one-liners.

There are numerous cameo appearances throughout played with deadpan assuredness from the likes of Barry Hearn OBE (Chairman PDC), Ray Stubbs (BBC sports presenter) and the darts professionals themselves (albeit now mostly retired since filming began) like Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams, Bobby George and James Wade, that have just the right amount of gusto not to make them cringeworthy viewing.

From director Simon Sprackling (Breakfast with Johnny Wilkinson), known for his bold off-centre low budget filmmaking, the film is a remarkable feat of perseverance having started filming back in 2002. With access to the 2003 World Darts Championship he shot the film between the gaps in the match schedules, mixing real tournament players and crowds with his spoof script. But the film was put on ice due to budgetary restrictions – for 20 years! Eventually with a renewed interest to complete the film the script had to be re-jigged because of the loss of key personnel, like the actor playing Perry “The Poison Arrow” Peters. Not wanting to waste the priceless tournament footage, he’s cleverly used it as genuine archive material in his own mockumentary.

It’s a raucous comedy crime caper, that will appeal to the UK cockney gangster audience as well as the “Eurosport” viewers of darts. With plenty of swearing warranting its 18 certification be ready to cover your ears if easily offended. Nervous? “Just have a lager.”

Available on all major digital platforms from 3rd January 2023.

Film: Poison Arrows

Director: Simon Sprackling

Genre: Mockumentary, comedy

Stars: Geoff Bell, James Harkness, Ben Gardner Gray, Carrie Hilton

Run time: 1hr 35mins

Rated: 18

Rating: 3/5

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