Bullet Points: Dead Man Running
The worlds of action movies and hip hop music are no strangers to one another. There have been countless rappers that have appeared in and in some cases even starred in action films. DMX in Cradle 2 the Grave, Ice Cube in xXx: State of the Union and Coolio in China Strike Force are just a few examples.
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson added his name to the hip hop action list in 2006 when he starred along side Danny Trejo in the movie Vengeance. Since then 50 Cent has continued to get work in action films including the subject of today’s Bullet Points, 2009’s Dead Man Running.
- The Premise: Tamer Hassan plays our protagonist, Nick. Nick is an ex-con trying to make an honest living by selling ski vacations in Dubai. But the past is about to come back to haunt him in a major way. Prior to going to prison, Nick took out a “loan” with the local gangster, Thigo (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson). Nick needed the money to make sure his mom and his girlfriend were taken care of while he was away. Well, Thigo’s profits are not what they were prior to Nick’s imprisonment thanks to the worldwide recession. You know times are tough when time honored illegal institutions like prostitution, drug dealing and gambling aren’t recession proof. To get the cash flowing again, Thigo is looking to collect on all the loans he’s made in the past and he starts with Nick and the $100,000 he borrowed. And the catch here, Nick only has 24 hours to get that $100,000. If the time sensitive nature of all of this wasn’t enough motivation, Thigo has a hired gun named Johnny Sands (Phil Davis) “watching” Nick’s mom and if Nick doesn’t come up with the cash in time, mom is a goner! Yes, Thigo means business folks!
- The Villain: The Thigo character does not get a whole lot of screen time but I felt that Curtis Jackson maximized his minutes in Dead Man Running. The scene where Thigo verbally dresses down one of his subordinates much to the delight of another Thigo underling, myself and likely anyone else who watched this movie. It is a quality scene and really establishes Thigo’s character and management style. And while the character is not seen much, the ultimatum that Thigo gave is the dark cloud that hangs over our hero for nearly the entire duration of the film. So to say his character makes a major impact would be a major understatement.
- The Misadventures: As you might imagine, coming up with $100,000 in 24 hours is not an easy thing to do. Nick and his best friend Bing (Danny Dyer) find themselves at an underground fight club, the dog track, transporting drugs to a rave in the woods and dropping in on Nick’s girlfriend Frankie (Monet Mazur) who is with one of her “clients” that has an S&M fetish and a safe filled with jewels. Nick even meets with some less than reputable human beings about doing a hit for them. All of these misadventures make for an entertaining movie and the 92 minutes flies by, but the best thing about the film are the twists!
There are a few twists that the audience does not see coming in this movie. At least I didn’t and for me that elevated Dead Man Running up a notch or two from your average action crime drama. Tamer Hassan makes a great flawed hero. Danny Dyer plays the kind of loyal friend we should all be lucky enough to have. I already mentioned how 50 Cent made the most of his part. But before I wrap this up I need to applaud Brenda Blethyn for stealing the scenes she was in. Blethyn plays Nick’s wheelchair bound mother, but there’s more to her than meets the eye. She kept her cool while looking across from Johnny Sands with two loaded shotguns pointed in her direction and it is clear to see why Nick got right to work on his $100,000 problem and didn’t freak out at the daunting task. The apple don’t fall from the tree as they say.
No twist ending to this review, here are the Bonus Bullet Points you’ve been expecting…
- If You Ever: …wanted to see how laxatives could effect the results of a dog race, then this is the movie for you.
- Hip Hop Action: 50 Cent isn’t the only actor with musical experience in this movie. Clint “C1” Koroan and Ashley Walters are also featured. And along with 50 Cent, C1 and Ashley performed the song “I Like It’ on the Dead Man Running soundtrack.
- Subtitles: Some of the very British characters in this movie could have used subtitles to accompany their dialogue.
- Closing with the Opening: And speaking of the soundtrack, the opening credits featured a song I had not heard in year’s, The Prodigy’s “Breath”. For some strange reason the song conjured up memories of a lot of Styrofoam heads with me. Don’t remember it? Check it out below…