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Near the end of the movie, a man looks inside the minivan, and tells Michael to "Burn it all away!". Michael is played by Paul Walker, who soon after died in a car crash that set the Porsche ablaze. Incidentally, that car was red, just like the freshly repainted minivan. See more »
The police car that rams into the minivan has no red marks on its dented front bonnet. This would be expected even if the van had not just been freshly re-painted. See more »
Only one vehicle is really visible in "Vehicle 19"
I admire what first-time writer/director Mukunda Michael Dewill attempts to do with Vehicle 19, however, I'm unable to recommend his attempts to the masses. Instead, I'll limit my recommendations to only the most optimistic film-watcher or one, like myself, who feel they need to pay some respect to Paul Walker after his untimely death. The film concerns Walker's Michael Woods, a fugitive in the United States evading prosecution in South Africa, where he picks up a rental car and is meeting up with his girlfriend. However, plans are put on an abrupt hold when he discovers a gun, a cellphone, and a woman tied up in the back seat of his car. An incoming phone call on the cellphone makes clear that this rental car was intended for another person, but by then it's too late; Michael is now trapped in a cat and mouse game with a mysterious voice on the phone and law-enforcement that he can't escape. Add a random and surly woman in his backseat into the mix as well.
It was just a few days back that I reviewed Courtney Solomon's Getaway, a horribly incoherent, messy action film, whose camera always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Vehicle 19, however, Dewill attempts something different with his car-chases and it's something I believe could be executed very well. Dewill keeps the camera on Michael in his car at all times. I can't immediately recall a shot that was stationed outside of the vehicle, even during the car chases.
This move in a genre dominated by slick and flawless scenes of car-chases and action in films today is a risky one - one that I admire and respect - but one that fails to do the film any particular justice. Getaway's issue was that its camera never seemed to be in the right place capturing the right thing. Vehicle 19's issue is that by keeping the camera in the car at all times makes it next to impossible for us to see what is happening outside, where the other members of this car chase exist. During the chase scenes, we are solely focused on Walker angrily trying to drive, yelling at the woman tied up in the back, and trying to fulfill the demands of the man on the other end of the phone. My guess is that Dewill wanted to capture this with boiling tension and to do that he thought it'd be best to keep the camera on Walker's character the entire time even as things became heated. Again, this is a decision I admire but do not necessarily like in this particular film.
Another issue with this kind of style is that Dewill wants us to sit through the tedious elements of Vehicle 19 that are captured through this kind of suspense tactic. The first fifteen to twenty minutes are nothing more than a frustrated Walker stuck in traffic, yelling at pedestrians, trying to find ways around a congested highway, and repeatedly telling his girlfriend he'll be there in time. Then when the chase scenes are finally sprung upon us, Dewill's practice becomes akin to watching a car chase in a rearview mirror.
This style also results in a heavy weight on Walker's shoulders as he must carry the film for almost the entire runtime since the camera almost never leaves him. He accepts this challenge, but he clearly struggles to give Michael Woods a character with more emotional depth rather than one victim to the asinine requirements of an action movie.
Vehicle 19 in many ways reminds me of Solomon's Getaway more-so than its unique, if unsuccessful way of filming action sequences. Both films concern a person thrown into circumstances beyond their control, given orders by men on cell phones, accompanied by a female companion in the vehicle, and both films are concluded by an ending of questionable satisfaction. Paul Walker led a selfless life and showed skill as an actor who performed well when his character was under stress. Vehicle 19 attempts to show that but fails to show the source of his character's because it would involve exiting the vehicle.
Starring: Paul Walker. Directed by: Mukunda Michael Dewill.
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