VideoVista logo
MONTHLY WEB-ZINE OF  
DVD & BLU-RAY REVIEWS
 
action | adventure | art | cartoon | comedy | cult | disaster | docu | drama | fantasy | horror | kung fu | monster | musical | parody | romance | satire | sequel | SF | sport | spy | surreal | 3D | thriller | TV | war | western
VideoVista covers rental and retail titles in all genres and movie or TV categories, with filmmaker interviews, auteur profiles, top 10 lists, plus regular prize draws.

HOME PAGE
INDEX OF ALL REVIEWS
SEARCH THIS SITE
COMPETITIONS
FORTHCOMING REVIEWS
TOP 10 LISTS
INTERVIEWS & PROFILES
RETRO REVIEWS SECTION
ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTORS
READERS' COMMENTS
SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER
SITE MAP
LINKS


SUPPORT THIS SITE -
SHOP USING THESE LINKS

In Association with Amazon.com


visit other Pigasus Press sites...
The ZONE - genre nonfiction
Soundchecks - music reviews
Rotary Action - helicopter movies

April 2010

Dead Man Running

cast: Tamer Hassan, Danny Dyer, Brenda Blethyn, Phil Davis, Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson

director: Alex De Rakoff

88 minutes (15) 2009
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
Revolver DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
review by Barbara Davies

Dead Man Running

It's not loveable-but-broke cockney, ex-gangster Nick's day. First his Mayfair dominatrix girlfriend's kitchen is repossessed, then loan shark Thigo (Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson) demands his £100,000 back within 24 hours or Nick's wheelchair-bound mother (Brenda Blethyn) gets it. While hitman Johnny Sands (Phil Davis) keeps a shotgun trained on mum, Nick (Tamer Hassan) and sidekick Bing (Danny Dyer) set off in search of the readies.

With some stolen stake money in their pockets, they head for an illegal street fight and a nobbled dog race and soon turn a tidy profit. It's not enough, however; they need to think bigger. So to Manchester in a stolen black cab they head, to deliver some cocaine. But every step forward is followed by two steps back, and it soon becomes clear that Thigo, determined to make an example of Nick, is sabotaging their efforts. As the clock ticks, an increasingly desperate Nick begins to consider committing crimes he normally wouldn't touch with a bargepole.

With its references to Nookie Bear and Madchester style raves, Dead Man Running feels oddly dated. And the values underpinning it are dubious to say the least - we are asked to side with drug runners and hitmen. The plot feels familiar from other British gangster movies and relies heavily on coincidence. And Hassan and Dyer have acted together several times, and they're a good fit, but the banter they're given to deliver here feels a little forced at times. Characterisation also suffers at the expense of the plot or a quick laugh. It's hard, for example, to believe that Nick would really be so dim as to offer his travel-shop customers skiing holidays in Dubai, or that his girlfriend's rich clients would all turn out to be kinky and gormless.

As for Nick's mother, her taste in furnishings and radio programmes is that of a much older woman. De Rakoff also piles on the cockney clichés to such an extent - there are even jellied eels - it verges on the ridiculous. Fortunately, he's aware of the danger and makes cliché a feature, using audience expectation to fuel some nifty plot twists. And the amusing subplot involving Nick's captive-but-far-from-helpless mum provides a nice contrast to Nick's frantic quest so that this light-hearted gangster romp passes the time entertainingly.

Former boxer Tamer Hassan (Layer Cake, Ferryman) does a creditable job as the hapless Nick, and Danny Dyer (Doghouse, Malice In Wonderland) is a safe - if predictable - pair of hands as the soft-hearted cockney sidekick. I'm not sure why they needed to make the loan shark an American, but Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson's drawl is so thick I could have done with subtitles - fortunately his screen-time is limited. As for Brenda Blethyn (Atonement, Pride And Prejudice) and Phil Davis (Vera Drake) their subtly comic double act threatens to steal the film.



Premonitions in paperback - click to order

VideoVista copyright © 2001 - is published by PIGASUS Press