Fast Convoy

**1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Fast Convoy
"It's worth noting that making a genre film is no excuse for crafting a female character this depressingly weak."

Frédéric Schoendoerffer and co-writer Yann Brion take the Luc Besson approach to this slick but tension-lite thriller, which plays out with similar speed to the French director's films in the hopes that its hurtling quality will rush the lack of characterisation and development by us so quickly that we won't notice it. Cinematographer Vincent Gallot also seems to have gone to the CSI Miami school of filtering, with sun-drenched jaundice and reflections in expensive sunglasses the name of the game.

Set on a motorway somewhere just south of the Spanish border, a four-car team of drug runners, forming the convoy of the title, are trucking their illicit load north. There's a scout car up front, the goods in the middle and a near-silent boss and 'fixer' at the rear just in case anything goes wrong - all communicating via mobile phone, with the text messages appearing onscreen. You won't need a map to see where this is going and the hapless crew's encounter with a set of cops leads to a gunfight and hostage taking.

Copy picture

While the action sequences rattle along enjoyably, the plot suffers from being puddled in each of the cars, with the constant back and forth diminishing tension. Up ahead are a wannabe white Islamic-convert Rémi (Leon Garel) and his buddy, holding the hash are the nervy Majid (Foed Amara) and volatile Elyes (Mahdi Belemlih), while boss Alex (Benoît Magimel in a performance that lifts the material) is bringing up the rear. There's another car, too, but it's not long before most of the characters start to blur. Soon the plot is nearly as full of holes as Elyes' car, particularly the incredibly convenient hostage the crew pick up - in a country of Spanish drivers credibility is DOA when Nadia (Reem Kherici) turns out to be French.

It's also worth noting that making a genre film is no excuse for crafting a female character this depressingly weak. Inexplicably, Nadia soon warms to her captors as though all women need to fall in love is the sight of a pair of piercing baby blues and a loaded gun. There's cross and double cross involved but it's hard to care, largely because Schoendoerffer and Brion seem more interested in the shiny surfaces of the cars than the character motors that are supposed to be driving the film. The pace certainly helps but even that feels too fast in the end, charging to a hurried and confusing conclusion.

Fast Convoy will be available on VOD platforms in the US on December 5, 2017

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2016
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Fast Convoy packshot
Drug runners face trouble as they cross the Spanish border.

Festivals:

EIFF 2016

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