Vehicle 19 Blu-ray Review
The acting talents of Paul Walker (FAST AND THE FURIOUS) will never be likened to that of Denzel Washington, Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, or other members of the Hollywood elite. Let’s face it, it would be a compliment if someone even compared Walker’s thespian abilities to that of Jason Statham, but to his credit Walker has been able to maximize his overflowing cup of charisma into a long and monetarily fruitful acting career. Even with each overacted line or poorly imitated emotion, Walker is somehow able to convey a sense of the “everyman” while possessing the physical attributes of the top 1% of the population. The answer to the riddle may lay in a common denominator of his characters. Most of the time Walker wears the shoes of a guy who gets into the middle of a situation that is way over his head and whose primary plan of action is to simply “wing it.” Pretty much everyone has had a good friend in their lives that lives by that code, so through that embodiment Walker may be able to elicit viewers to keep clearing their short term memories concerning his past films. Well, that and his involvement in a 7-picture billion dollar franchise.
Once again we find Mr. Walker getting into trouble with his car. Although this time, his character Michael Woods is not racing for pink slips in a tricked-out, NOS-injected racing machine. Instead, it’s a minivan rental car with a gun under the seat and a kidnapped woman in the trunk that fuels VEHICLE 19. An ex-convict, Woods receives the wrong rental car as he arrives in South Africa to try and rekindle his relationship with his estranged wife. While stuck in traffic, Woods notices there are a few “lost” items in the car from a previous driver. However, with each find he comes closer to the realization that he’s now caught up in a very dangerous situation.
Director/writer Mukunda Michael Dewil’s approach of staying inside the minivan for 99% of the film is definitely an admirable tactic to try and pull off. And if not for some very weak parts of his script, he would’ve succeeded. Dewil’s directing shows a lot of promise; it’s more than half-way though the film before you realize that the camera has never left the inside of the car. That would infer that at the very least, his style is entertaining and able to keep the viewer’s mind occupied even with a limited range of shots available. It’s too bad his story writing could not keep up with his directing as the consequences of the character’s choices fall extremely flat and the anticlimactic ending completely wastes every last bit of vested interest that the entire first half of the film spends building up.
VEHICLE 19 had the potential to at least approach a “cult” quality status attuned to one of Walker’s previous films, JOY RIDE; something fun to throw on when you have friends over and just end up talking through most of it anyway. Unfortunately, the story writing and dialogue are just too weak to even warrant a flyer draft spot in your DVD collection from the bargain bin at Wal-Mart.
VEHICLE 19 BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 1.78:1 Widescreen, 1080p/AVC MPEG-4: The film has a purposefully muted tone, using desideration as a stylistic choice along with a light grain. The picture doesn’t look bad at all, but some might simply disagree with the director’s and cinematographer’s choices for this film.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1: The sound is actually better than a movie of this caliber probably deserves. Dialogue is crisp and the vehicle sound effects are very immersive for the viewer. The soundtrack is also pretty decent and never interferes or drowns out other audio facets.
Featurette (13 min): An sleek and fast all encompassing behind-the-scenes look at the film which is actually edited very well and gives you some interesting looks at how they filmed some of the more difficult action sequences with the cars.
Trailer – Theatrical Trailer