Speed Kills (2018) Movie Review

By: Oberst Von Berauscht  (Six Pack) –

Moving to Miami with his family and hoping for a fresh start, Ben Aronoff (John Travolta) quickly discovers a passion for speedboating. Using the money he saved up from his years working “construction” (gangster movie lingo for “doing illegal shit”) he starts a business building and selling high class Cigarette boats and competing in racing competitions around the world. Soon his criminal past catches up to him as he finds himself drawn back into business with some of his seedy partners.

A Toast

Not much “praiseworthy” about Speed Kills. I racked my brain for awhile trying to think of something nice to say… I got nothing… Move along to Beer Two.

Beer Two

John Travolta has gone through numerous peaks and valleys in his career; rarely, though, have I seen him appear so self-deluded as he does here. Travolta is in his 60s and for the majority of this movie he is playing a man 30-40 years younger than himself. The makeup work is sad, and makes the Jeff Bridges CGI de-aging in Tron: Legacy seem considerably less creepy. This is not a film he should ever been cast in, and as Executive Producer he clearly had some pull to make that decision. Age issues aside, he never takes ownership over this material even in moments of the film meant to be dramatic and emotional. Travolta delivers lines with the enthusiasm of a mannequin, inexcusable for someone with the experience and talent Travolta has.

Hey, Mannequins can be enthusiastic, honestly!

Beer Three

You could probably shave 20 minutes out of this film by cutting montage sequences. They only serve one purpose here; to give the audience plenty of chances to multitask and run errands. None of the racing sequences are interesting and most don’t even play out from start to finish, making them feel like highlight reels that are missing…. highlights. Advice for the director: if your movie is themed around racing, perhaps show more of the individual races than just supercuts. The audience may get a visceral feeling of excitement and drama rather than the feeling of watching someone’s home movies.

Beer Four

Have you seen Goodfellas? Would you like to see a film that follows the same template, subtracting any originality and nuance that made Goodfellas work? Fuck you.

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“We already got your money, fucknut!”

Beer Five

For a film touted as a VR Experience, the cinematography is pedestrian and the special effects anything but special. Most of the boat race scenes entirely consist of wide shots (hardly the kind of photography that screams “immersive”). The lighting is so even throughout the film that it feels like a mid 1990s soap opera. Indeed the only thing suggesting the movie was meant to be watched on a VR headset is the stormy racing sequence in the middle. That is undercut by CGI so bad that it could have been in a video game cutscene for the PS1.

Beer Six

Sadly, the worst flaw of Speed Kills is the one which makes it hard to recommend even from the standpoint of ironic viewing. The movie gets off to a promising start in terms of comic incompetence, but steam runs out quickly, leaving a lukewarm and dull feeling which is only interrupted occasionally by a sensational fault. I had a handful of laughs at this movie’s expense, but nothing worth sitting through all 102 minutes. There are lots of movie sins committed, but the worst one of all is that of being boring.

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“Point of order: I still have your VOD rental money.  No refunds, bitch.”

Verdict

One can only hope that the checks cleared for the cast and crew of this sad excuse for a Scorsese clone. John Travolta has been treading water for awhile, but here… he may finally have bottomed out.

Speed Kills (2018) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for pointless montages

Take a Drink: for bottom-rung imitations of classic rock songs

Take a Drink: for inane Travolta narration

Take a Drink: for embarrassing special effects or editing.

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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