The Crew - Out on DVD 12 Jan 2009
Dir. Adrian Vitoria
Scot Williams, Kenny Doughty, Cordelia Bugeja, Rory McCann
Featuring a script so full of tired, worn out gangster cliches it's in danger of kicking itself to death, The Crew marks a disappointing return to the sort of generic 'geezer' thrillers that clogged up the video shops of the post Lock-Stock Brit-flick cultural wasteland. You know the score - gratuitous violence and drug runners with cretinous nick names (Harry the truck) mixed in with often wildly inappropriate bouts of inane comedy. Most of those late 90's offerings never approached Mr Ritchie's debut for style and smart dialogue and The Crew is no exception.
Essentially the story follows Liverpool crime boss Ged Brennan (Williams, a dead ringer for ex-Reds footballer Jamie Redknapp) in his attempt to carry out 'one last job' in order to set himself and his young family up for life. Things don't go to plan however, (of course they don't - it would be a total waste of time if they did, rather than just a large proportion of one) especially when his brother (Doughty) - a local hard nut who hangs around with Tinhead from Brookside - decides he wants a piece of the city's local drug trade. Sickening, usually pointless, violence ensues shot in graphic detail.
Caught up within the manic speed rush of baseball bats and Scouse inflected beatings is a frankly bizarre and implausible sub-plot involving Brennan and his wife Debs (Bugeja) getting conned by a charming couple posing as property dealers. The lady of the honey trap pair seduces Debs in hilarious lesbian fashion that is as contrived as it is unnecessary. It does however provide the film's (unintentional, one assumes) funniest scene.
All of the characters are wholly unpleasant, even the supposed loveable clown Moby (McCann) is a sex obsessed heavy with a sort of apathetic love for strip joints, masturbation and booze. Ok, so maybe he's not all bad. The rest of the psychopathic bunch stumble around in a semi-coma. only occasionally drawn out of their slumber by talk of the ridiculous 'plan' and the promise of Playstation 3's.
Oddly, these grim personalities of the central players add nothing to the authenticity of the piece - it merely leaves it cold, depressing and intellectually frail. Hardly a recommendation in anyone's book.