Imagine Top Gun. Now imagine Top Gun but with a cast of meth addicts. Welcome to the gun-toting, drug-fuelled, airborne action escapade that is Kill Speed.
In the opening five minutes, you’re witness to a sex, drugs, but sadly no barrel rolls. It’s with some relief, then, that you’re soon watching a small plane soar above the sweltering landscape. Personally, the scene worked for me in a different way to the one you’d expect – the contrast between high-flying action thrills and two blokes sat sunning themselves next to stationary planes really rams home how bizarre their daily routines must be.
If you ever wondered what planes would look like if they were refurbished by West Coast Customs, then Kill Speed will give you a comprehensive idea. I’ve never seen planes like this before, and the dinky little machines make flying for fun and as an under-the-radar drug runner seem a little more glamorous than the rustbuckets you saw in, say, Blow.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” says our hero, strolling away from his just-landed pimp-plane, mere minutes after leaving a woman alone in his super-bed in his super-house. “Your mamma’s late bitch, where YOU been?” responds his friend, twisted cap on head. It’s clear they’re anti-heroes, then. But if you’ve come to this film looking for the high-flying spiritual sequel to Seabiscuit, you’re in the wrong genre.
I think, however, we may have a new cult film on our hands, and for all the wrong reasons. Mexican gangsters called Speedy Gonzales? Pimp My Sky-Ride? The Fly Guys? The Room was renowned for embracing clichés that, delivered deadpan, much like Kill Speed, are very amusing.
It’s a great idea, as boys-in-cars is a done deal. The execution is, and I’m still unsure as to whether this is intentional or not, brazen in its lack of self-consciousness. Women are objects, men are preppy bad boys, all the foreigners are bad guys… it’s not rocket-science film-making, but if you’re a fan of, say, the Too Fast Too Furious franchise, this sort of film is perfect.
It begs the question of what, exactly, the aviation industry think about this particular film. It’s pretty rare they see their main passion in life on the big screen, unless Tom Cruise is swanning about on it. I suppose for every The Wrestler, there’s a Nacho Libre, and this is it.
It’s always difficult to turn drug-smugglers into likeable characters, but some films manage it with the utmost finesse, some not so well. Henry Hill of Goodfellas and George Jung of Blow are prime examples of how to nail the anti-hero character. Just enough moral impetus behind the actions, and just enough coy humour to make them entertaining.
The anti-heroes in Kill Speed are, when the chips are down, less dislikeable simply because they’re the least evil people in a nasty world populated by baddies ranging from evil bikers (one of which has an interesting line of dialogue, in which he makes light of the rather obscure fact that you’re more likely to die in a car accident than a plane crash) to accented gang-bangers. Forced into a deal they didn’t want to make, they find themselves making a two-way journey, rather than dropping the drugs over the border and fleeing for home.
Overall, it’s going to be a very enjoyable experience for you if you’re into girls, guns and action, but less so if you were tempted in by the themes of drug abuse and aviation. That being said, it’s refreshing to see that in our world of planes, trains and automobiles, someone finally decided to make a movie about the first mode of transport.