Paul Walker plays a ne’er do well ex-con meant to be on his best behaviour. He ventures to South Africa in order to be with his estranged diplomat lover (Leyla Haidarian). Unfortunately, as he steps into his mini-van rental car, the worst day of his life begins. The car is the wrong one, but the rental car company tells him to suck it up. And that’s when he finds an assortment of oddities in the car; a gun, a cell phone that keeps receiving odd text messages, and a woman (Naima McLean) bound and gagged hidden behind the backseat. Yep, you read that correctly. Oh, and a voice on the phone tells him to return the car to a certain location and no harm will come to him. What in the Wide World of Sports is a-goin’ on here?
Even if I had seen this 2013 film from writer-director Mukunda Michael Dewil before the slightly similar “Getaway”, it’d still end up being the far weaker of the two films. Where that film was constantly on the go and featured very strong car chase action, this one is dreary and slow, and it only has two car chases, neither of which last long enough to leave any impact whatsoever. It’s pretty boring, has zero tension, and you’d think a Paul Walker film would at least get the car action right. He served as EP here, and obviously saw something in it. All I saw was an idiot who when he finds a gun in a car that he already doesn’t own, decides to keep said gun. This guy is already in trouble when we meet him, and since the car is meant to be a rental, anyone in their right mind would take the bullets out of the gun, throw the gun out the window, and throw the bullets out somewhere else. But like I said, he’s an idiot.
About the only thing this film holds over “Getaway” is that South Africa is an infinitely more interesting location than Bulgaria proved to be in that film. It’d be even more interesting if the cinematography weren’t of the shaky-cam variety. In fact, it has been appallingly shot. The film opens with an ultra-shaky shot of Walker’s baby blues in Sergio Leone extreme close-up, while he’s inside a moving car. Why is the image shaking, though? The car would hardly be seen to shake from the outside let alone the inside, let alone Walker himself shaking. Move, yes, but violently shake from side to side? Not unless he’s an terrible driver with Parkinson’s. Then again, when you find out the nefarious plot behind it all, ask yourself why the woman in the car is bound and gagged instead of simply being killed. That seemed ridiculously unbelievable to me.
This is just subpar stuff, tedious, poorly filmed, and Walker isn’t good enough of an actor to keep you engaged, either. Watch “Getaway” instead, hell even some of the “Fast and the Furious” films aren’t as bad as this, and believe me, that’s saying something. Fans of the late Walker might find something of interest here, but sorry, I was never a fan at all.