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Shank (DVD Review)

30 Sep, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Street 10/5/10
$19.98 DVD
Not rated.
Stars Adam Deacon, Bashy, Kaya Scodelario, Kedar Williams-Stirling.

It’s London in 2015, and society has gone to hell following economic collapse. Teenage gangs roam South London’s deserted urban concrete jungles exerting power and mayhem, while the unwashed masses barter whatever they can for food or “munchies.”

In this dystopian world exists Junior (brilliant newcomer Kedar Williams-Stirling), a 14-year-old street-smart kid, who, when not scrounging for himself and peaceful older “brutha” (rapper Ashley “Bashy” Thomas) — leader of the non-violent Paper Chazers — tries to stay one step ahead of personal landmines, which include topless prostitutes and people defecating.

British indie Shank (slang for knifed) opens explosively (from music video veteran Mo Ali) with Junior in a parkour-like escape from ball-and-chain wielding evildoers on motorcycles. “Streets proper sticky deez days,” Junior mutters early in the film, underscoring the need at times for a verbal tour guide (or the rewind button) to comprehend the visceral wasteland.

When tragedy strikes, revenge boils to the surface with predictable vengeance, and Junior is faced with the choice to go highroad or postal.

Throughout this thinly veiled ode to Escape From New York, music-laden scenes of beat-boxing, animation reminiscent of German hit Run Lola Run, and dance-offs are punctuated by partial relief, if not eye candy, in the form of the Slaughter Gurlz: Tash (Kaya Scodelario), Ree Ree (Jennie Jacques) and Lexy (Rheanne Murray).

Then again, beauty is only skin deep if you can’t understand the message: “Gotta be on disting, cos if you ain’t then youz a victim.”

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