80 people are ripped out of their daily lives and all re-appear in an undisclosed location. These people are from all walks of life: young and old, athletic and disabled, white-collared and homeless. The rules to a race boom in their heads, in their own voice and language, laying out what will become a horrific race of terror: 'If you are lapped twice, you die. If you step off the path, you die. If you touch the grass, you will die. Race... or die.'
Directed by: Paul Hough
. Starring: Paul McCarthy-Boyington
, Eddie McGee
, Trista Robinson
, T. Arthur Cottam
, Brianna Lauren Jackson
, Fred Coury
, B. Anthony Cohen
, Noel Britton
, J. Louis Reid
, Celine Tien
, Ian Tien
, Richard Gale
, Luke Y. Thompson
. Music by: Marinho Nobre
I went into this with an open mind. I'd caught the trailer on YouTube and it looked intriguing, reminiscent, I thought of "The Long Walk" (a guilty pleasure of mine). I'd also read some of the reviews, the ones slating the poor acting and low budget. I've seen some great movies with low budgets and poor acting ("Tunnel" or "The Poughkeepsie Tapes" for example) so I figured that maybe there might be a hidden gem here, one overlooked by all the haters. Sadly I was wrong.
The trivia section suggests that this was filmed over the course of several years and it shows. Not only does the plot (what there is of it) feel very disjointed but the whole style seems to alter almost randomly. Often it feels as if the director has read about a new technique and just wants to experiment with it. Some of these techniques such as the hand-held camera in the office chairs are actually pretty neat but because the director doesn't stick with one style throughout the film loses any sense of unity.
There's also the issue with the plot. There are a couple of lengthy flashbacks that seem to serve no purpose later on, as if the writer changed his mind about the film's direction after they'd been filmed. Then, once the film proper is underway he brings it neatly under control before realising he doesn't know what to do next. So, he changes direction again, upping the action and gore in a truly ludicrous fashion (the fight scene with the amputee veteran is probably the nadir of the film in this regard).
However, in amongst all this there are some good points. The performances might not be Oscar worthy but they are solid enough and some of the relationships are nicely drawn, especially between the two veterans and also the deaf couple. There are also a couple of nice scenes, notably with the pregnant woman and the cyclist and the old marine and the veteran. There's also the setting with its seemingly random safe spots and oppressing atmosphere.
But then we come to the reveal. This is where it lost most of its points. Up until this point this has been a mildly intriguing look at the way people interact under stress. There are some nods towards religion and to modern society that hint that maybe this film has a point to make, some sort of message to impart. Had the reveal somehow linked to this, even in a way I disagreed about, I might have seen some worth in this enterprise. Instead the reveal turns the whole film into little more than a genre film (and a cheap genre film with rubbish CGI at that). There's nothing wrong with being a genre film but you're going to need to do a whole lot better than this if you want to stand up against the far better examples that are out there (eg "Battle Royale").
Review by synthboy2000 from the Internet Movie Database.