Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Transporter: Minivan Edition
Have you ever witnessed a film that got one thing exactly right? Emphasis on the “one”. Usually when films are really good, most (if not everything) about the movie is phenomenal. The same goes vice versa. If a movie is absolutely atrocious, you’re not going to typically find anything good in it. For the most part, this is because the filmmakers act as a team, and often have similar skills. That’s why Joss Whedon’s team and Christopher Nolan’s team make brilliant films while people out in The Asylum can’t figure out how to make a movie right at all. Vehicle 19 is just one of those rare breeds of films that just don’t make any sense on a technical level. The whole thing is absolutely horrid…but there is one thing that holds it together.
Paul Walker stars in this film as Michael Woods, our main character of the day. Woods unknowingly picks up the rental car from Hell and is forced to carry out tasks from a dirty police chief known as Detective Smith (Gys de Villiers). In the car is a tied up woman named Rachel Shabangu (Naima McLean), who tells Michael about a sex ring operation that she has exposed. The two race against time and against the police of South Africa to survive and bring the people responsible to justice.
I want to first start off this review with a positive note, because it’s the only positive thing about the movie. It actually looked rather decent. The shots had a lot of contrast with an extra feeling of warmth. I was going back and forth in my mind to decide whether the movie actually looked good, or was trying to look good in the same way that teens try to make their photos look good – through Instagram-like filters. In the end, I decided that it didn’t really matter to me because I did like how it actually looked. Also, the entire concept of the film in regards to how it was shot was actually really smart. The entire movie, from start to finish, is shot inside of this minivan. It is really hard to have an entire movie take place in one spot, and for this movie to succeed in doing so is nothing less than amazing. The movie is an action film, so to be able to pull off high action inside of a minivan is really smart camerawork.
The rest of the movie, however…was atrociously bad. Paul Walker had some really bad moments in this movie. He was often angry enough to yell, and his yelling scenes often came out of nowhere and felt out of place. Imagine Will Ferrell making fun of an angry scene: “I am so ANGRY right now! I feel I could just eat a pineapple and throw up all over your…your ugly face! Because I’m ANGRY. I am so ANGRY!”. That may be over-exaggeration, but Walker’s yelling scenes also felt over-the-top, and often hilarious…because it kept happening.
The writing is also really bad. This guy clearly walks into the wrong vehicle. He then gets a call from a terrorist, and is gullible enough to believe when the terrorist calls back that he is an “undercover cop” without even checking anything. Also, there were so many chances he had to call the cops when he knew something was up in the first half hour, but doesn’t even try to contact them. There are a couple of good reasons not to call the cops, but the movie doesn’t even try to explain them in that first half hour. You just have to be smart enough to pick up on them. It still doesn’t explain why common sense didn’t register with him. Every single person in his position would consider going to the police. No wonder he kept getting angry. Maybe he actually read the script and saw how stupid it is.
Then the movie tries to take ideas off of FOX’s 24, and the video game series, Grand Theft Auto. I’m sorry people, no one would watch this as a TV show, and I’m sorry, the whole “spray painting your car thing to get away from police” was clearly taken from GTA. Like I said, the whole movie was so incredibly bad, save for the visuals.
The only reason it was probably made was because Paul Walker is clearly obsessed with driving cars in movies, and one way to make that cooler is to drive around for (literally) every second of the movie, and for the camera to be confined to the inside of the van. I know I said that was a good concept, and it is, but you also have to use that concept wisely. A movie cannot be saved by a concept alone. When you have lemons make lemonade, don’t just look at the lemons. This movie essentially just looked at the lemons and wasted its true potential.
Vehicle 19 came out this previous Tuesday, Jul. 23, but you’ll be better off staying away from this garbage. Peace out, folks.