Road is what happens when a group of boys get together to play cops and robbers, and nobody wants to be the cops. There’s a lot of gun pointing, a lot of carpet f-bombing and a lot of accusations regarding the others’ dedication to brotherhood. I should note that this is all done in fun. For the most part, the writer/director, Nas Vitae, knows he’s not making high-art, and that frees him to make something as fun as it is stupid. And it is stupid.
“Road is what happens when a group of boys get together to play cops and robbers, and nobody wants to be the cops.”
It begins with several armed criminals pouring out of the side of a white van, which is essentially a clown car for crooks. They proceed to rip off some other guys, also up to no good; this gives each of them the perfect opportunity to be introduced with an on-screen graphic, and one of them to rub his nose in a pile of cocaine like a curious puppy. Then, the film jumps forward to a time when the group is fractured. Unlike the other members, Shokka (Cameron Caan) has gone straight, but with the mysterious death of his brother, he immerses himself back in the toxic waters of his former life. In other words, just when he thought he was out, they—all together now—pull him back in. It’s a tried-and-true crime fable, surely told as a bedtime story to little lawbreakers everywhere.
While the story itself will have you scratching your head at some points and manually holding your eyelids open at others, there are some moments that stand out. In one scene, Shokka goes to an arms dealer for a weapon. The dealer’s walls are covered, top to bottom, with every gun imaginable; it looks like a man-cave for a psychopath. Shokka wants to buy something practical. The dealer starts with offering him an RPG, then works his way down. I’m not sure if the scene was supposed to be as amusing and ridiculous as I found it to be, but judging from some of the film’s other scenes, such as one where two common thugs operate a tank to kill a single person, I’m going to chalk it up to “intentional.” But, at the end of the day, does it matter? I think not.
“…functions primarily as a moment-to-moment attraction for those of us easily amused by hokey crime-operas, fast cars and over-the-top violence.”
There’s also some impressive stunts, considering the film’s obviously low budget. There’s a fight scene between Shokka and a nearly-nude numbskull that begins with some modest punching but quickly evolves into the kind of melee where a grand piano becomes a viable weapon. With the film’s fetishization of cars, it should come as no surprise that some time is reserved for a good ol’ fashioned car chase. It’s nothing special, but it’s clean, loud and the cars look good. A quick note: when a new car appears, a graphic pops up, detailing the car’s specifics. The graphics look like something I would have seen in my Nintendo 64 days. If you don’t have the money to make them look good, ditch them. They don’t add anything to the experience, anyway.
With little in the way of story or characters, Road functions primarily as a moment-to-moment attraction for those of us easily amused by hokey crime-operas, fast cars and over-the-top violence. It’s not high-art. Hell, it might not be art at any elevation. But, it’s just as entertainingly lunkheaded as a multimillion-dollar “Fast and Furious” flick, with a fraction of a fraction of the budget. That might not be the most desirable accomplishment, but it’s something.
Road (2017) Directed by Nas Vitae. Written by Nas Vitae. Starring Cameron Caan, Dylan Duffus, Ray Sinclair, Sunjay Sharma, Tayo “Scorcher” Jarret, Ricci Guarnaccio, Dr Zeus, Tom Zanetti, Roach Killa, H Dhami, Winston Showan, Joel Eccleston, Bambi Bains, Shortie, Shelby Billingham, Shin Dcs, Kailiee Ryder, Chandni, Queen Tugz.
2.5 out of 5