So I’m minding my own business watching the slightly more recent film ‘Freight’ which while not quite a gritty British Gangster film… is still a gritty British Gangster film. But while writing my little nonsensical ramblings about that movie I observe that an awful lot of the cast members of that film, the usual suspect to be sure, are in this movie ‘Dead Cert’. If the likes of Craig Fairbass, Billy Murray and Danny Midwinter are in a movie that you’re watching then the chances are you are viewing a British Gangster film. But not so fast my friends. Oh yeah… ‘Dead Cert’ is a gritty British Gangster film, no doubt… but with vampires. Hell yeah. If that’s not the logical progression of the genre, then I don’t know what is. Hopefully ‘Snatch’ meets ‘Zombies’ will soon follow.
Freddy Frankham (Fairbass) is just your average dude running a little night club and the occasional underground fight. At least that’s now. Back in the day Freddy was something else altogether, but that was then. Now he’s a proper businessman just trying to make a semi-honest buck while attempting to impregnate his lady love Jen (Lisa McAllister).
Then one of Freddy’s top mates, Jen’s brother Eddie (Dexter Fletcher), presents Freddie with a lucrative deal selling this new designer drug from this mysterious Romanian cat named Livenko (Billy Murray). Dante Livenko. That’s a pretty damned ominous sounding name right there. Freddy doesn’t trust this guy or his crew but the deal is a solid one and he does trust Eddie. During these negotiations Livenko makes Freddy an odd wager. Freddy’s other brother-in-law Dennis (Danny Midwinter) is like his top fighter on top of being his best friend but Livenko thinks his man Yuvesky (Dave Legeno) can handle that ass. If Danny wins, Freddy and his crew get a boatload of pounds sprinkled with a few quid. If Livenko’s man win’s he gets Freddy’s club. Think Apollo Creed versus Ivan Drago.
So… Freddy has no club no more. His wife is really upset because her brother is dead. But it was an honest wager, right? Well not if you listen to Van Helsing over here in Mr. Mason (Steven Berkoff) who has been hunting Livenko, or The Wolf as he calls
him, the better part of twenty five years. Not that anybody is listening to that loon. Jen the wife is wondering what the hell is up with her man. The man she married would’ve busted up in that club and killed everybody by now. She wants that man back. Immediately. So Freddy gathers his mates and goes to take back his club, especially considering the awful things that Livenko is doing with his club. Livenko, during their first face off, advises against this. A fight ensues. It looks like Freddy and the crew have won. Uh, no. Damn if these guys that they thought they had just killed didn’t bounce right back up ready for round two. It’s a bad situation that has forced our anti-heroes to run into the basement, which apparently vampires are too stupid to enter into. I know you have to invite a vampire in, but if they are already in they can go to other rooms like basements, attics, kitchens, crawlspaces… right?
Now we need a plan. The Van Helsing loon has given us a plan. All we need to do is run through the vampire gauntlet, make it to the top floor and press the red button. I’m not going to tell you what happens when they press the red button but it is a little anti-climactic.
One of the problems I had with that other gritty British Gangster flick ‘Freight’ was that it was just a little too over the top in the real world setting that it was set in. So I guess the problem that I have with Steven Lawson’s ‘Dead Cert’ would be that it just didn’t go over the top enough. I mean once you introduce vampires into the mix you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want with your movie. I’m sitting in front of my television waiting for ‘Dead Cert’ to go… to take off… to get crazy. But it could not quite get itself free. It was like there was something holding this poor little movie back from achieving its true potential.
It certainly isn’t a terrible movie and the truth of the matter is that I did find ‘Dead Cert’ more entertaining that ‘Freight’. I don’t know if Craig Fairbass can actually act, like in this season’s Royal Shakespeare presentation of ‘Othello’ I’m not sure that Craig Fairbass is the first name rolling of the tongue for the character of Iago, but if they need somebody to run on stage and start punching people in the face, he’s the first person I’d call. Craig Fairbass does what Craig Fairbass does in this movie and he does it well. The movie has enough mayhem and action in it to insure it should never be dull and actress Janet Montgomery has an amazing face… just a phenomenally pretty young woman. Watch the movie ‘Wrong Turn 3’ and observe Tamer Hassan punch that pretty, 106 pound face over and over again. Now my main man Billy Murray as a super smooth Romanian Count? Hmmm… not so sure about that one.
But somewhere down the line I think they needed to have just a little bit more fun with this one and not take the whole exercise so damn serious. A Gritty British Gangster flick with ultimate fighters versus vampires that takes place in a strip club. On my best day I couldn’t have thought up anything as brilliant as that. If only they had pushed this amazing concept to the limits of ridiculousness that it was begging for.