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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Paul Walker is an idiot abroad (Vehicle 19 review)

Vehicle 19 red light Paul Walker

I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): don’t expect much from Paul Walker

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

And here I was all ready to praise poor cute dumb-as-a-post Paul Walker for at least trying, bless his little heart. Vehicle 19 is, like, foreign and everything… though there’s no subtitles, so it’s not scary foreign — calm down. Still: it’s practically arthouse as these things go. And he’s not just the star but an executive producer, so you know he cares, even. Why wouldn’t he? This is important and all. Something something something sex trafficking; something something something chief of police. Probably everyone involved thinks this is a powerful and insightful story about corruption in South Africa ’n’ shit. Like meaningful and stuff. Ain’t gonna play Sun City, y’all. Peace out.

Which is why I’m ROTFLing, I guess. OMG, is this supposed to be this funny? The list of Stupid Movie Shit Only Characters In Stupid Movies Do is a mile long by five minutes into the movie, and that’s even before Paul Walker picks up the gun that he finds in the rental car he wasn’t supposed to have after getting the mysterious and nefarious text on the phone accidentally left behind in the rental car he’s not supposed to be in. Even after he tells himself to “stay outta trouble.”

Because he’s an ex-con who apparently got permission from his parole officer — or did he? *dum dum DUM* — to travel from Amuricah to Johannesburg to visit his wife at the U.S. Embassy. Because diplomatic workers with felons for spouses are totes not a security risk or anything. Apparently. Whatev.

This could be the movie the phrase “I can’t even” was invented for.

And then you realize that there’s a gimmick at work here, a forced cleverness in how South African writer-director Mukunda Michael Dewil made the whole movie from the perspective of that rental car. Not even kidding. The camera never leaves the minivan that Walker’s (Takers, Flags of Our Fathers) Michael Woods wasn’t supposed to pick up at the Johannesburg airport but did anyway. It’s kinda like that flick in which Colin Farrell was stuck in the phone booth — that would be Phone Booth — only kinda sucky and clearly trying to glom onto some of Fast and Furious’s mojo. Cuz, you know, cars ’n’ stuff. Vroom. Well, minivan-vroom. You can almost feel how pumped Dewil was, bless his little heart, to have gotten that chiseled white guy from those Fast and Furious flicks with those amazing Paul Newman movie-star blue eyes to agree to star in this. Before he realized that Walker was not very compelling as a screen presence without a V8 engine alongside and now he was stuck with the dude in a minivan and had him tooling around Johannesburg for 85 screen minutes.

There’s a ton of dumb shit here, like how there’s literally nothing to keep Walker’s character from walking away from all of this till halfway through the movie. But my most favorite awful bit might be the Big Tragic Scene that is accidentally hilarious in how it takes a story that couldn’t possibly be less about a doofusy white American guy and makes it all about a doofusy white American guy. Like none of the sex-trafficking, corrupt-chief-of-police in South Africa stuff matters at all unless a doofusy white American guy is in the middle of it.

I can’t even.

Watch Vehicle 19 online using LOVEFiLM‘s streaming service.

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Vehicle 19 (2013)
US/Can release: Jun 14 2013
UK/Ire release: May 10 2013

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated ICE: I can’t even
MPAA: rated R for brief strong language
BBFC: rated 12A (contains one use of strong language and infrequent moderate gore)

viewed at home on a small screen

more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • RogerBW

    Clearly Walker’s feeling the need to branch out and stretch his acting muscles before he gets stereotyped. But not, y’know, far enough to take him out of reach of a car.

  • Overflight

    Once again I am left asking why in the world Walker keeps getting work.

    And he’s going to play Agent 47 in a Hitman reboot. *sobs*

  • It’s the blue eyes and the cheekbones. Only explanation. *sob*

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Why is Hitman getting a reboot? For that matter, why did Hitman get a boot?

  • FormerlyKnownAsBill

    Hitman could be a small, observant exercise that we would all gush over. Like “Drive”. But no. We get the shit show that was the first one and then Paul Walker.

    In my small, feeble mind, George Clooney’s “The American” is as close to a proper “Hitman” movie as we will ever see. And I’m cool with that. Despite what our hostess had to say about it, that movie was genius ;)

  • Walker lucked into starring in a movie series that makes money. So Hollywood seems to think people will see other movies with him in it thinking “oh this is gonna be as entertaining as Fast Furious”

  • That or he’s got incriminating pictures of a studio CEO.

  • Loyal

    Please stop picking on Paul Walker, he certainly is not that bad. He’s given a script, he doesn’t write the story. Real bad acting, that would be Arnold S. Terminator, Sylvester Stalone, they have gone on to make millions, people buy it, they like action movies, The movies Paul does are mostly action. He’s an actor he needs to work. I am sure if he was offered better roles he would be able to show what skills he has. Instead of offering everything Ryan Reynolds,ugh, Ryan Gosling. If you don’t like action, then don’t go. Your opinion means little to the fans of Fast&Furious mostly between 16 to 34. I suppose Pain & Gain or whatever was better, one of the actors whose acting in that, certainly on the C list is in that killing movie. After seeing a great actor R. Downey in that crappy science fiction Iron Man 3, only went because I took a child… I can say it certainly is not any better than Fast Furio

  • Thanks, Paul Walker’s mom.

  • carter

    This review sounds like a thirteen year old girl ranting on her Facebook status. Like omg. I can’t even. The guy has talent. Is it Oscar worthy? Of course not but he is still making more money than any of us combined and he is very pleasing to the eye.

  • From now on, all my review are going to read: “Everyone involved is better looking than I am and making more money than I do, so it’s all good. Enjoy!”

  • LaSargenta


  • lol

    The only thing worse than the movie (and yes everything about the movie was bad) is this article….or whatever the hell this is suppose to be. I honestly couldn’t read past “ROTFLing”. Seriously? This is suppose to be somewhat professional writing or a legitimate review of something? I just had to take a look at the book you wrote to see if you were actually a legitimate writer and that provided me with several reviews of you that gave me a much better laugh than the movie or your review did combined. With reviews of your book (which is being sold for less than a cup of coffee) stating things like “I was very disappointed”, “The book doesn’t really have a point” and “I read the first few chapters of the “Totally Geeky Guide to the Princess Bride”
    and couldn’t read any further” I was glad to see you don’t restrict your poorly written and completely useless writing to just the internet. It’s like you have an adolescent girl stuck in that giant gap in your teeth and they control everything you write, it’s that horrible! I’m sorry this post is so rude and sounds so harsh, to be honest I truly felt sorry for you.

  • lol

    Hahahahaha I kind of figured you’d delete that comment. You can dish out harsh language and criticism but when it’s directed back at you it’s wrong and you can’t accept it. Typical useless critic. Enjoy the rest of your lonely life drinking wine and spending time with your housefull of cats, watching fictional movies searching for some profound deep meaning because your own personal life lacks anything close to it.

  • Robert

    This is the most offensively unintelligent review I’ve ever read. Okay we get it. Your bitter and old and craving the attention of youth. Sure this movie deserves a bad review but how bout some insite? Your literally wrote something something something. Where’s the review? How about an intelligent and thought out opinion of the aspects and merits of the film I stead of snarky juvenile jokes and insults. How bout that huh?

  • What is it about this film and my review that has brought out the trolls?

  • cjob3

    You sarcastically say “Bless his little heart” twice of two different people. Lame.

  • You say that as if I didn’t do it deliberately. Interesting…

  • cjob3

    Aww, she thinks snarky sarcasm automatically makes her a hip, young film critic. Bless her little heart.

  • I had no idea I was writing “hip film criticism.” Thank you for setting me straight.

    Do you have something constructive to add to this conversation? Can you defend the film on some level? Because that’s what people here want to read. Give it a try.

  • Annoying!

    Yes, we get the point, you didn’t the film, and really re-enforce that point with the continued use of the word ‘like,’ text speak, abbreviations, fragments and italicised text. Think I’d rather watch the film. It would be less galling.

  • Annoying

    Well said. I have no issue with criticism that’s intelligently written, but this is way too self conscious and up its own backside to be function as any kind of yard stick.

  • bronxbee

    if you haven’t watched the film, how do you know the criticism here isn’t spot on?

  • TheTruth

    Get the gaps in your teeth fixed.

  • TheTruth

    or….perhaps It’s YOUR own bleary eyes, saggy jawline/facial muscles, and FUGLINESS that is the ONLY explanation….Jealous Hater…

  • bronxbee

    yes, because i’m sure even women want to look like paul walker.

  • TheTruth

    Or a bronxbee.

  • TheTruth

    MaryAnn Johanson, You really should fix that gap before you try to get snarky, my dear.

  • fairportfan

    The point is that, outside of, say, an Uwe Boll film, watching the film is probably going to be less-irritating than this “clever” review.

  • Det Sgt Bargearse

    is this written by a 15 year old girl? After reading your poor The Heat review, I was interested to read some more. But this is just silly and childish.

  • I’m clearly not the critic for you. There are hundreds more — thousands, maybe — on the web. I’m sure you’ll be able to find someone whose taste aligns with yours.

    But if you’re not trying to be a troll, why don’t you try explaining why the film works for you?

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