Avery Taggart (Zoe Bell) is an award-winning New Zealand photo journalist. When her US editor (Kevin Pollak) presses a plane ticket into her hand and sends her off to photograph some missionaries in the Colombian jungle, the assignment doesn’t go quite as expected. The missionaries are actually more akin to a rebel militia, and their charismatic leader Guillermo (Nacho Vigalondo) is quickly revealed to be a ruthless psychopath when he murders a child who witnessed him making a drug deal. Unfortunately for Avery, she’s the only one who saw it happen, and now Guillermo and his ragtag band of soldiers are pursuing her through the jungle with Avery’s murder on their minds.
Let’s start with the good news. Zoe Bell makes a terrific action star and, unlike most action stars, she’s not a bad actress either. And that’s the end of the good news. Director Josh C. Waller admitted in an interview that Daniel Noah wrote Camino’s script in two days, and it shows. Badly. From a derivative beginning that presents Taggart as the stereotypically troubled journalist (but aren’t all photojournalists just trying to run away from themselves in the movies?) we’re quickly pitched into illogical seen-it-all-before action territory.
Within the barest handful of scenes, Vigalondo has the rug pulled out from under him by Noah’s screenplay – all promise that he could be a truly memorable messianic villain is lost very early on, and he’s reduced to spouting some truly dull ‘007 badguy’-type rhetoric while Bell messily dismantles his followers all around him. And how is Avery suddenly so adept at killing people anyway? Sure, she takes some brutal punishment (especially during the first battle) but unless they’ve started teaching close quarter combat at journalism school, we’re not given any good reason why she should be surviving this. Yes of course there’s a twist and, yes, of course, it’s as flat as the rest of the film, which is easily twenty minutes too long. You know you’re in trouble when the best, longest, and nastiest fight scene takes place at the midpoint of the movie, and when you can’t remember the title of the movie even while you’re watching it, it’s time to switch off the DVD player and reassess your life choices.
Zoe Bell’s performance deserves much better than this, and anyone thinking about entering a 48-hour write-a-screenplay challenge should take Camino as a stern warning and think again.
CAMINO / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JOSH C. WALLER / SCREENPLAY: DANIEL NOAH / STARRING: ZOE BELL, NACHO VIGALONDO, KEVIN POLLAK, FRANCISCO BARREIRO, SHEILA VAND, TENOCH HUERTA / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 5TH