You know, ever since Quentin Tarantino stopped making movies about criminals and hitmen, the crime genre just hasn’t been the same. Slam-Bang is sorta like a low budget South African version of the same kind of Tarantino knockoff that littered video store shelves in the mid-90’s. (Like Truth or Consequences NM, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, and a dozen others.) While it lacks the showy dialogue that’s the hallmark of most Tarantino rip-offs, it nevertheless has enough grisly violence that would make QT proud.
A nerdy computer programmer (Roland Gaspar) gets blackmailed into stealing a computer disk for the dreaded gangster “The Chinaman”. Naturally, he botches the job and inadvertently smashes the chip. “The Turk” (Malcolm Ferreira) is assigned to drive around town and help him recover the data. To tell you any more would ruin the fun. Let’s just say about an hour into the movie The Turk makes a pretty gutsy move.
Like a Tarantino movie, Slam-Bang plays around with time and there’s even a gut shot guy screaming endlessly while laying in the back of a car; just like in Reservoir Dogs. In addition to Tarantino, there’s also a sly nod to Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, which I quite enjoyed. Unfortunately, the performances are all pretty forgettable and border on amateurish. Gaspar and Ferreira resemble a poor man’s Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and neither of them have the chops necessary to carry the film.
The chief problem though is the erratic pacing. Even though Slam-Bang takes an inordinate amount of time to get cooking, the last twenty minutes or so features enough over the top craziness to qualify it as a moderately successful crime picture. The flick definitely has it’s share of “Oh shit” moments (one involving an icky cavity search) but it’s not quite enough to make up for the choppy first hour or so. Despite it’s flaws, Slam-Bang still has enough “Bang” for the buck to make it worth checking out.
Slam-Bang comes out today courtesy of the good folks at Cinema Epoch. To get your copy, check out www.cinemaepoch.com.