Vinnie Jones is a popular Hollywood actor, but he didn’t get his start by attending theatre school or performing in small shows; he was a professional footballer for Wimbledon F.C. Since his retirement, he used his tough guy reputation to kickstart his acting career and has had many film and TV successes. He’s also starred in several adverts and has even become the face of a unique online roulette game called ‘Vinnie Jones Roulette’ which Microgaming casino game fans enjoy to play. He’s done it all on every level of entertaining, but let’s look at 10 of his best movies.
Released in 2000, Snatch is arguably one of the biggest films co-starring Jones. Alongside bonafide Hollywood actors such as Jason Statham, Benecio Del Toro, and Brad Pitt, this is where Jones truly showed his acting chops. He put in a stellar performance as the ruthless bounty hunter Bullet Tooth Tony. The story follows an illegal boxing promoter trying to throw fights for gangsters to make money, with a stolen diamond subplot that will keep you hooked until the end.
Just one year later, in 2001, Vinnie moved from a minor character to star of the film, as he played the lead role of Danny Meehan. The story follows Danny, the disgraced ex-captain of England football, who is in jail on assault charges. During his stay, he’s constantly reminded by the other prisoners of how he let his country down in a crucial World Cup game. However, he has the chance to help redeem himself in the eyes of his peers as the prisoners try to put one over their uncaring guards.
If you ask someone to name a Vinnie Jones film, it’s likely to be Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Released in 1998, this was Vinnie’s breakthrough into the film genre. The story is a complex crime caper involving a high-stakes poker game gone wrong, the theft of antique shotguns, and a group of amateur drug dealers in over their heads. He plays Big Chris, the debt collector for “Hatchet” Harry, and he shows just how good of an actor he can be – particularly when asked to play the big burly tough guy.
Taking more of a backseat in this 2011 film, Vinnie plays the part of Keith Ritson; a local boxing champ turned enforcer. The film follows Ray Stevenson as Danny Green, an Irishman who manages to work his way up to become the president of his local union. However, after being charged with corruption, he becomes an FBI informant. After his release, he quickly rises through the ranks of Cleveland’s underworld, narrowly escaping death wherever he goes.
Later that same year, Vinnie was back in a starring role as “Killer,” a highly skilled bodyguard whose aim is to avenge his brother’s death. However, as he’s doing so, he uncovers a never-ending ring of government corruption, which seems to go all the way to the top. Despite being the film’s “star”, Vinnie doesn’t get much screen time compared to some of his co-stars. Still, he’s an intimidating presence in the limited time he gets.
A couple of years later, in 2013, Vinnie appeared in a star-studded lineup for the film Escape Plan. The film follows Sly Stallone as Ray Breslin, a man who has dedicated his whole life to making prisons inescapable by trying to escape them himself. Ray is employed to test the security measures of a newly opening maximum security prison but quickly finds someone is trying to stop him from leaving. Jones plays the warden’s sadistic and tortuous personal assistant and truly exemplifies the psychopathy of the role.
In this 2014 flick, Vinnie again fills the role of the villain, as he plays the criminal “Golden Pole,” the target of a robbery attempt by the story’s protagonists. After finding out he’s been robbed, he makes it his mission to track down the group, get back his money, and exact revenge on the participants. Vinnie was fantastic as ever as a tough guy on a mission, and you really believe his performance throughout the film.
Early in Vinnie’s career, he played a significant role in the American crime drama Night at the Golden Eagle. In this film, he plays the pimp of the prostitutes that frequent the hotel where one of our protagonists lives. After Tommy, played by Donnie Montemarano, kills one of his girls, he has to decide how to get what’s owed. Vinnie is perfectly cast as an intimidating tough guy, and he always feels like a threatening presence on the screen.
Not to be confused with the 2020 film of the same name, this 2013 picture follows the story of a US covert ops unit as they try to extract an ally from a Chechnya prison. The film stars Vinnie Jones as Ivan Rudovsky, the British-Russian prison warden who discovers the plot and orders the unit killed. After the botched rescue attempt, one survivor must fight to keep himself and his ally alive. Jones plays the cold, sociopathic warden to perfection as he battles to secure his prison.
The last film on our list takes us back to 2001, the fourth film Vinnie featured in and only his second in Hollywood. The film follows hacker Stanley Jobson, played by Hugh Jackman, as he’s convinced to hack into the government mainframe to release money locked behind encryption. The man seeking the money, Gabriel Shear (John Travolta), wants it to finance their vengeance war against international terrorism. In the film, Vinnie plays the role of Marco, Gabriel’s bodyguard, and even in this early stage of his career, you get a sense of the presence he brings whenever he’s on the screen.
Despite only getting into acting in his mid-thirties, Vinnie has an extensive catalogue of work behind him. These are some of his best and most well-known movies; there are plenty of other films he’s been in that are worth checking out once you’ve enjoyed these!