Friday, January 25, 2013

Dead Cert (2010): Jay's Move of the Week #4

First off, this is not the posh 1974 DEAD CERT, a Tony Richardson adaptation of a Dick Francis mystery staring Dame Judi Dench. Nope. This is a more a chav,“Guy Ritchie's FROM DUSK TILL DAWN,” a shot-on-video mash-up of Boxers, British Gangsters, and a competing gang who happen to be Vampires. They just happen to be Cockney instead of sparkly.

Freddy Frankham is a nice, wholesome London Gangster trying to start a family with his girlfriend while managing her boxer brother. Opening a small Gentlemen's Club in an old warehouse, he's a bad man making good and no one understands him like his woman. During the rather sad opening night, Dante Livienko shows up with his sociopathic crew. They aren't messing around (except for with the dancers), as they want to take over the bar, the local drug trade, and are vampires, to boot. Settling things over boxing doesn't do it, so will a fully-fanged defense of the club do it when the good guys come to take it back?

There really is nothing more to this than half a London Gangster movie mated with the FROM DUSK movies. Smushed together, they actually cancel out each-others crackle. Know the old adage “when you show a gun in the first act, it has to go off in the third?” Well, they do that here early on in a manner that should become thuddingly obvious to, if not the attentive viewer, at least me. It makes the build to the climax more of a “oh, hurry up already” than a “well, isn't that clever” when you know from the git-go what'll stop the Vamps.
Former Bond-baddie and TV-Hitler Steven Berkoff plays the Van Helsing here, while Billy Murray is Livienko. Craig Fairbrass is the world's most cockney protagonist, while Danny Dyer, Dexter Fletcher, and Jason Flemyng show up as vaguely familiar faces to anyone who catches their fair share of British TV and cinema. Wavering audio levels don't help the thick accents while the serious lack of bloodshed won't satisfy the gore fans. An even greater offense is the complete lack of nudity in a b-movie set in a Gentlemen's Club. All these Gangsters, and that's the only real crime committed here.

At some point while watching DEAD CERT, you'll also be asking “Why the hell is this on Blu-Ray?” Shot with a RED One camera, this movie looks great but there's something about it that stands out as being very “video.”1080P and 7.1 audio aren't always kind (the dialogue is unintelligible in places), but do emphasize how RED's digital recording captures light and detail beautifully. I say “just embrace that and move on, because while it don't look great, 'tis the camera of the future.”

A painless, stylish, utterly unmemorable 90 minutes.

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