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Dead Man Running

Dead Man Running

Review by Cassam Looch

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

HERE’S a pitch that will grab you… a ‘mockney’ gangster movie starring Danny Dyer and 50 Cent. Wait it gets better… it’s also produced by renowned cinematic heavyweights Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole. Hello? Anybody still there??

Actually, let’s be fair. I too had low expectations going into this largely thanks to the numerous reasons given above, but despite a complete lack of originality Dead Man Running does have a likeability to it which just about manages to keep you hooked for the duration of the film.

When it becomes apparent that the recession is hitting the criminal world as hard as it is hitting Wall Street, notorious gangster and loan shark, Mr. Thigo (50 Cent) arrives in London to shake things up and make an example out of one of his late payers.

Already struggling financially, reformed ex-con Nick (Tamer Hassan) is given exactly 24 hours to come up with the money left on his bill or he is literally a dead man running.

As a guarantee, Thigo’s men hold Nick’s wheelchair-bound mum (Brenda Blethyn) hostage, leaving him no choice but to comply. Enlisting the help of his best mate, Bing (Danny Dyer), the boys embark on a frantic race against the clock.

Their mission takes them from the dog tracks of East London to the underground drug scene of rural Manchester as they try every trick and scam in the book to get the cash before it’s too late…

The best thing about the film is the focus on Tamer Hassan as the lead character rather than Dyer. It’s not that Danny ever lets anybody down in his movies, it’s just that one can become very tired very quickly of his routine.

He’s not doing anything different here, but as support to Hassan he manages to redeem himself for some of his recent big screen outings.

Hassan himself is hugely believable as a desperate man prepared to go to desperate measures. He has the size and intimidation factor needed for some of the more physical scenes as well as the acting ability for the (few) dialogue heavy moments.

You do like the pairing as well… old friends who are comfortable with one another and able to go the extra mile for their mates.

Brenda Blethyn has a small role but takes the different material in her stride. She’s great as Nick’s mother and adds some emotional depth to the character, which is unfortunately lacking from the typically OTT love interest provided by Monet Mazur.

The action and plot is fast-paced but utterly predictable with an assortment of ‘thugs’ and ‘dealers’ crossing paths with our leads and much low level scamming in place to try and save the day.

50 Cent isn’t too bad in his thankfully short screentime and overall, despite it’s overly familiar feel, the film is brisk and entertaining enough to warrant a look if you’re a fan of this kind of genre.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 92mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: March 1, 2010