Vehicle 19: Zero-Zest Thriller
Naima McLeanPaul Walker
Action & AdventureThriller
Mukunda Michael Dewil
Mukunda Michael Dewill, a name that you don’t get a chance to hear very often, is the man behind the latest action-thriller, Vehicle 19. Aside from directing, the South African filmmaker also penned the script, and while his ideas might have seemed good in print, the overall execution is not so grand.
Based in South Africa, Vehicle 19 takes place within the confines of a car – the entire time. After getting paroled, Michael Woods (Walker) is determined to work things out with his estranged ex wife, and goes to South Africa to do exactly that. Upon his arrival, he realises that his rental is in fact a minivan, instead of a car that he had originally booked. Not wanting to cause too much of a fuss, he decides to go with it, only to receive a mysterious text message on a mobile phone that he finds, along with a gun and a mysterious woman, Rachel (McLean), who’s tied up in the back.
Michael soon learns that he has innocently stumbled into a twisted plot, ignited by corrupt cops to kill Rachel – a woman who holds key evidence that can put them away for life. In order to clear his name from crimes he didn’t commit, he has to fight and find his way around the streets of an unknown city.
The idea – to lock the audience in within the confinement of a van – is not the problem and neither is the storyline, nor the location. All of the issues come with the actual execution and the director’s casting of his leading man. Overall, Dewill’s Vehicle 19 offers very little action and a lot more suspense – which comes in a form of waiting around for something to happen, but then it doesn’t. Apart from a couple of impressive uses of CG technology, the rest of the film rests on some seriously ailing and worn-out special effects; a pretty laughable affair as a whole.
Paving the road to destruction is Walker; never really looked up to for his acting abilities, Walker goes on to prove that not much has changed in that department. A generic performance embodies the actor, who should just really stick to driving – in silence.
Finally, Vehicle 19 is a claustrophobic and creatively challenged ride, foolishly left sitting on the shoulders of an actor who simply doesn’t have the makings to carry a film through singlehandedly.