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Dead Man Running


Stars: Tamer Hassan, Danny Dyer, Brenda Blethyn, Curtis Jackson, Phil Davis, Monet Mazur, Ashley Walters, Scot Williams, Blake Ritson, Omid Djalili

Director: Alex de Rakoff

Executive produced by footballers Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole, this Brit crime flick is somewhat above par for the course. The plotline, however, mines familiar ground: Nick Kane (Hassan), once a 'legend in the back alleys' as a bareknuckle boxer and criminal muscleman, but now fresh out of jail and set to go straight, owes 100 grand to American loan shark Mr Thigo (Jackson, alias rapper 50 Cent), who wants it back in 24 hours (don't they always?).

In the world of the gangster flick, though, it's no problem. Nick, with the help of best mate Bing (Dyer) wins 9k in a fight, quadruples it on a greyhound after arranging for the favourite to be doped - then buys packs of cocaine from a shapely dealer who, alas, is in the pay of Thigo and double-crosses him. Yep, this is our hero.

Only able to break even on the rough stuff she's passed on, Nick is forced to accept a 'hit' on a 'mark' in Manchester. All the while his wheelchaired mum (Blethyn) is being held hostage to ensure his reappearance. It's Nick's constant thwarting at the crafty hands of Thigo that drives the plot until he becomes like Sisyhpus, condemned to rolling a stone up a hill without ever reaching the top.

Some of this is very unlikely, but Hassan and Dyer, who've acted together before, enjoy some roughly humorous exchanges - although Blethyn's banter withh her grinning captor (Davis) is an acting cut above anything else in the film.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Revolver. Fujicolor.
88 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 24 Oct 2009