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A Mediocre Thriller which gets Stuck in Third Gear
on 18 June 2015
The late Paul Walker plays Michael Woods, a good-looking, thirty something ex-con, who's fresh out of jail after serving an 18 month sentence, and looking to build bridges with his estranged girlfriend - his drink problem has caused issues in the relationship. He's released from custody on parole, which he promptly breaches, hiring a Hertz rental minivan (the titular Vehicle 19), in order to make his way across town to his disgruntled other half. Woods finds a handgun inside the minivan, and then takes a call from a mobile 'phone he discovers inside the glovebox, a police detective who directs him to drive the vehicle to an address in a less salubrious part of town.
Before too long, the wild goose chase finds Woods with a tied up lady dumped inside the rear of the van, holding a pistol which she's pointing directly at his head...
This is a watchable, but workmanlike, thriller. It has something in common with Tom Hardy's movie Locke, in that much of the story centres on what happens to Woods whilst he's driving around town in the minivan. However, restricting much of the film to the confines of the minivan, and with much of the run-time focussing on just the one actor, places unhelpful dramatic constraints on the movie. Tom Hardy, who's an exceptionally gifted actor with a very wide range, couldn't really salvage Locke, the whole film revolving around just him stuck inside a car on a motorway. Paul Walker is a likeable screen prescence, but a less dynamic and intense actor than Hardy, and he too struggles to keep the film involving when it's largely centred on just him stuck inside a vehicle.
This is by no means an awful film, but it's definitely not in the same league as the better instalments of The Fast And The Furious franchise, where Paul Walker earned his fame. It's worth a modest 2.5 stars. If you're looking for a car chase thriller with lots of fast paced action, this film might well disappoint you. If you want to see hypercars like Koenigseggs and Bugatti Veyrons go head to head, Need For Speed is a much better choice than this flick.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this review.