Vehicle 19 (2013) Is A Dud
Pitched as a claustrophobic action thriller, a movie like this was always going to live or die on the strengths of its tension and intrigue. This movie has neither tension nor intrigue. Walker is a parolee in Johannesburg who uses a rental car to go home to his woman. I missed the first few minutes, so I can’t really say why or how Walker, who the movie makes a point of clarifying as an American, ended up in a South African jail. Anyway, turns out there’s a live hostage in the trunk whom corrupt cops want dead. Walker picked up the wrong car, now they want him dead too. He’s now a second witness afterall. And so begins a cat and mouse chase with political intrigue propping up the ‘downtime’ scenes. Sounds like a good premise, and it is. Problem is, the execution of it is shit. Mikunda Michael Dewil cannot direct.
You know, this entire movie is shot inside a people carrier and for an action movie on wheels, this is a problem. Those are the slowest most boring civilian vehicles that money can buy, it makes for a shit ‘chase vehicle’. The movie explains why a sole parolee needs one, an error at the rental office. But we know better, this is just an excuse to give the director more room to shoot inside – to hell with high octane, eh? Then there’s the bigger problem – trying to pull off such a venture needs directorial skill, even competent directors would probably avoid it. There’s a big chance of fucking it up, and needless to say, it’s fucked up. I get that the guy wanted to send a message about Walker being claustrophobic as the law closes in – I just don’t care. The angles are horrible, the focus is horrible. You gotta wonder, does filming inside the car actually nullify the need to have a permit to film on certain streets? You know, since the car is technically private property? If so, if this how cheap-ass we’ve come to in action movies? Filming inside a car in South Africa? Please, don’t let Bruce Willis or Avi Lerner see this. It’ll give them ideas.
Before we talk about the action in this movie, I cannot in good conscience write any further without mentioning the co-lead in this movie. Now, I have seen some shit acting in my time – I have watched most Seagal DTV movies. But this is a new low. I don’t know what her name is, I don’t care, but her acting is just unbelievably shit. The term ‘worst acting ever seen’ gets thrown around a lot, but just watch the sequence where she gives her testimony. Ruinous. And in a movie with so many problems, that’s saying something. Come to that, the testimony, in other words the plot at large – absent and when appears – laughable. That said, one final complaint. Since we’ve established that the bread of the the bread and butter is missing, lets look to the action. The chases sequences are fucking atrocious, clearly filmed a 20-30mph. I have a good eye for breaking the speed limit, I know what I’m talking about. So… shit camerawork jammed into a shit car, in the middle of shit action.
I bet Walker can’t wait until The Fast and the Furious Six arrives after this embarrassment. He’s not too bad here, good delivery and keeps his composure in an avalanche of atrocious incompetents – from the director to the supporting cast.