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Paydirt Review

I’ve nothing against awful action movies, they do have their audience. My grandad, for starters, and that’s just about where it ends. I can’t think of too many people that would go into Paydirt expecting a championing of the genre, a slick story, or engaging performances. It’s a shame, since the pairing of Luke Goss and Val Kilmer doesn’t seem to have drawn any attention whatsoever, but maybe that’s not their fault. This disgracefully poor action piece from director Christian Sesma seems to be yet another horribly overblown flick from a director whose best-known work is Vigilante Diaries, and I bet you’ve not even heard of that one either.  

The nicknames given to each character, the Babe, Brit, Badass, Brains, and Brawn, they’re all hallmarks of a creatively devoid mind. It’s no surprise that Sesma directs a script written by himself, I doubt any other director would go near this car crash. Filled with fast cuts that the director thinks look cool in a vaguely edgy way, the film feels like something scraped out of the 2010s reject action pile. Paired with a poor, generic soundtrack and static shot choreography, it’s all your expected cheap shots at the big leagues, coupled with the ineptitude that often comes with low-budget, low-profile action films. There’s nothing here. Characters come and go, but nothing of any actual interest happens. I’d be terrified if something engaging did happen, because that would imply a semblance of thought or interest has gone into making this project.  

That moment never comes, and instead we’re stuck with Goss and Kilmer fumbling around a variety of generic settings in some American hellhole. Goss, looking like a cross between a washed-up vocal artist and a talentless Mark Strong, plays Damien Brooks, a career criminal who now searches for a hidden bag of cash he stowed away after a DEA bust went wrong. Alongside him is retired Sherrif Tucker, played by Kilmer, looking for that same bag after the underwhelming bust went wrong and cost him his career. The aims and influences on and around the characters are clear, but never amount to anything in the slightest. Lots of build-up, minimal pay-off, and nothing in-between 

Action tropes that died out a decade ago, with flat direction and boring dialogue, characters that feel they’d be better suited to a B-Movie or an ironic parody from the 1990s. Poorly lit sex scenes that make for a seedy, odd approach, ineffectual action and just the right amount of ego from the director, who thinks he’s doing a super job the whole way through. If it weren’t for Goss’ surprisingly amicable approach to the action-lead tropes, then Paydirt would be unforgivably useless in every sense of the word. It’s bloated, filled to the brim with absolutely nothing at all, which is perhaps the most puzzling part of this. Not even hardcore action or Bros band fans will get a kick out of this one. Goss asked when he’ll be famous in one of his more palatable songs, and I assume fame will come once he gets out of the filler action ditch he’s fallen into.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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