Vehicle 19 (Paul Walker) - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
FROM its preposterous premise to its lethargic execution, Mukunda Michael Dewil’s Vehicle 19 is a travesty from start to finish.
The premise finds a reckless American ex-con named Michael Woods (Paul Walker) arriving in Johannesburg to try and patch things up with his girlfriend only to immediately get himself involved in a mix up at the car rental company that sees him being given the wrong car.
When he finds a silenced gun and a hostage hidden in the back, Michael soon realises he’s back in trouble with the whole of the city police force in hot pursuit.
The main hook for the film, aside from seeing Walker back behind the wheel of a vehicle that’s not Fast & Furious related, is that the whole film takes place inside a car.
Perhaps mistakenly, therefore, you’d imagine that the ensuing film would play out at high speed with one or two decent car chases thrown in for good measure and the propsect of B-movie cult appeal looming large on the horizon.
Alas, Dewil’s direction is too pedestrian for that and there are long moments when the film does nothing while the clueless Walker attempts to work out his predicament without ever resorting to the most obvious or common sense approach.
As a result, the innumerable plot holes become all the more glaring (and annoying), while the film’s inability to poke fun at its own absurdity also counts against it.
Walker makes for a bland presence, there’s little in the way of solid support due to the brevity of the screen-time afforded to anyone else (his hostage or chief nemesis included) and nothing in the way of ingenuity of direction, save for the occasional distraction provided by the eye-catching South African backdrop.
But the final puncture in this film’s forward momentum is the lack of a decent car chase – for a film set in a moving vehicle for most of the time, that’s just plain unforgivable.
Running time: 82mins
UK Release Date: May 10, 2013 (Empire, Leicester Square only)
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: May 20, 2013