Dead Man Running (DVD)

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson certainly shouldn't give up his day job – as an actor he doesn't cut the mustard. He speaks in a monotone and registers zero expression, hopelessly miscast here as an underworld loan shark calling in his debt to unlucky Hassan, who must pay back £100,000 to him within 24 hours.

Fortunately the rap star isn't required to carry the movie – his inept attempts at portraying malevolence and menace don't harm what is in all a fresh and fast moving effort, derivative to be sure but likeable and engaging. Hassan takes the lead role as Nick, racing around the country in increasing desperation, becoming involved in all sorts of quickfire scams at raising the necessary readys, accompanied by his trusty sidekick Dyer. He is placed under further pressure knowing that his poor wheelchair-bound mum is being intimidated by nasty bad guy Davis. Will he come up with the money in time? How many dead bodies will result? Can he save his mum's life?

Don't expect any credibility here – the film makers take you in with a cheeky smirk not once aiming for plausibility. This impish, good-natured lads' movie hits the right buttons and is an agreeable and undemanding watch. Sure it's dated, reminding one of all the Lock Stock imitators from around 10 years ago, but it's also brashly confident in its ability to provide a good time. Hassan and Dyer are a genial pair with a persuasive camaraderie and Blethyn is terrific as the victimised mother – perhaps not as weak as she seems. Her scenes with Davis are beautifully delivered, the two pros playing off each other with aplomb.

And are there any fans of 80s comedy fave The Young Ones about? Remember Mike, the short smooth one who thought he was a ladies man? Christopher Ryan played him and he crops up here in a couple of scenes, now much greyer of course, as a bookie at the dog tracks. The attempt at a twist ending is mild in the extreme and hardly a surprise, but nevertheless it fails to spoil this agreeable but unmemorable effort. Enjoyable to be sure if you're in a lazy frame of mind.

EXTRAS ** A making-of featurette, behind-the-scenes footage and cast and crew interviews.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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