The Crew Released: January 12th 2009 Directed By: Adrian Vitoria Starring: Scot Williams, Kenny Doughty, Cordelia Bugeja, Rory McCann

Featuring a script so full of tired, worn out gangster clichés it’s in danger of knocking itself out, 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 waste land. You know the routine – gratuitous violence and drug runners with ridiculous nick-names mixed in with often wildly inappropriate bouts of woeful comedy. Most of those late 90’s offerings never approached Guy Ritchie’s debut for style and characterisation; 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 partial 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 lucrative drug trade. Sickening, often 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 Brennnan and his wife Debs (Bugeja) getting conned by a charming husband and wife team posing as property dealers. The wife seduces Brennan’s spouse in a hilarious lesbian scene that is as contrived as it is unnecessary. It is however, the film’s funniest scene.

All 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 seem to walk about in a semi-coma, only occasionally drawn out of their morose dead-eyed slumber by the ridiculous ‘plan’ involving trucks and the promise of Playstation 3’s.

Oddly, this grimness in the personalities of the central players adds nothing to the authenticity of the piece – it merely leaves it cold, depressing and intellectually frail. Hardly a recommendation.

Rob Monk