Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Fast Convoy: They Get Pretty Furious

The cars are sleek and the scenery is picturesque, but this job still isn’t worth it. The four-car convoy is ferrying a load of marijuana from Spain into France, but the whole operation goes down twisted right from the very start. Imad insists they left together, so they will arrive together too, but none of the other smugglers really believe him in Frédéric Schoendoerffer’s super-slick Fast Convoy (trailer here), which releases today on VOD.

The convoy is not on the road long before Majid looks in the backseat and sees the drug kingpin included a bonus duffle bag fill of cocaine. If caught, they would potentially face ten times more prison time, spurring the family man to have a conniption fit. Ironically, his freak out contributes to the initial mishap that leads to far worse trouble. Soon bullets fly and an innocent motorist is taken hostage. Yet, it is not the cops the drug-runners are really worried about. It is the mystery driver the admittedly paranoid Yacine is convinced is following them.

Obviously, Convoy has plenty of car chase action, but what really makes it work is the complicated dynamics between the well-differentiated crew-members. If the gang has organizational charts, the manipulative Imad would certainly be at the top, but strong, silent Alex, their Winston Wolf figure, clearly has operational control when the smack hits the fan. You can tell he’s bad, because he gets the Porsche. Even their hostage Nadia starts to dig him, which is admittedly problematic, but this is a French film, so what can we expect?

Regardless, Schoendoerffer’s high-performance execution powers through any politically correct objections, building to a crescendo of violence worthy of vintage 1980s Hong Kong action spectacles. This is a lethally effective auto smash-up that calls shenanigans on the Fast and Furious franchise’s bogus “family” talk.

Benoît Magimel is ultra-cool and uber-hardnosed as Alex. He just has instant cred as the fixer, which continuously deepens and compounds. Tewfik Jallab and Amir El Kacem are all kinds of intense and jittery as Imad and Yacine, while Léon Garel doubles down on the edgy, Tarantino-esque humor as Rémi, the prospective Muslim convert.

This is the sort of film that just flies by. Schoendoerffer definitely knows how to stage a car crash and a shoot-out. Yet, Convoy is quite well crafted beyond the stunt work and pyrotechnics, particularly Vincent Gallot’s stylish cinematography, which evokes the look and vibe of Michael Mann and Luc Besson fan favorites. Very highly recommended for action connoisseurs, Fast Convoy is now available on VOD platforms, from Under the Milky Way.