THE NIGHT CREW

PrintE-mail Written by Dominic Cuthbert

Not a lick on the lot in John Carpenter’s much maligned Vampires, the bounty hunters in The Night Crew are far less cool than restauranteur-turned-director Christian Sesma would have us believe. From its opening, a guerrilla-style shoot down a dishevelled Mexican town, to a non-specific nightclub, the camera hones in on the bare breasts and skimpy undies of its dancing pundits. It smacks of exploitation of the most organised and obvious kind. Sesma might be gunning for titillation, but it’s a sanitised sexuality: dolled-up, dead-eyed and commoditised.

One dancer, Mae (Chasty Ballesteros), is accosted by unsavoury types. She might dispatch them tout suite, but they soon catch up to her. Enter the Night Crew, a trigger happy, cocksure bunch who pinch Mae and close a 12 hour window to the American border. After various incidents, with an increasingly withdrawn and bleary eyed Mae, the Crew hold up in a desert motel and await the cartel cavalry.

The Crew is a pressure cooker of condensing musicality, even Rose (Luciana Faulhaber) falls into the ‘strong female’ archetype. When the script does deign to develop her beyond ‘one of the guys’, she’s the needy epicentre centre of a tiresome love triangle, bookended by prettier-than-thou Crenshaw (Bokeem Woodbine) and Luke Goss’ main man Wade; squinting, gruff and moralistic. Blockhead Ronnie (Paul Sloan, who co-wrote alongside Sesma) smokes while he’s pumping petrol, ‘cos that’s just the kind of guy he is. Jason Mewes fails to shed his stoner image, filling an utterly redundant role, as if Jay outgrew Silent Bob, struck out on his own and became a dope-totin’ cop. Danny Trejo gives his usual shtick, having much less fun than he did in Machete and a lot less to do than From Dusk Till Dawn, but necking with a naked Ballesteros must have twisted his arm.

Mae is impossibly strong, super-fast, quick to heal, and dressed like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth. If you’re at all surprised by its vampiric revelations, then you deserve to have your movies spoiled for you. With less time spent on T and A, vampirism and populating a Mexico stuck infinitely in Day of the Dead celebrations with drug cartels and bounty hunters, it could have wound up a half-decent, under-the-radar action movie.

The Night Crew’s stop gap is action, and there’s plenty of it, with hundreds of bullets going wide of their marks. Chances are Michael Bay will never try his hand at a vampire movie, but The Night Crew is a good indication of what that might look like. It might be light on some of the more repugnant pockets of Bay’s career, but the humdrum action, systematic story and tedious characters make sure it’s never far behind.

THE NIGHT CREW / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: CHRISTIAN SESMA / SCREENPLAY: CHRISTIAN SESMA, PAUL SLOAN / STARRING: DANNY TREJO, LUKE GOSS, JASON MEWES, CHASTY BALLESTEROS, LUCIANA FAULHABER / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 10TH

 


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