The Asylum finally knocks one out of the park with 200 M.P.H.! That is, until the first 15 minutes are through, then they kill off their best actor in a blaze of a cheap digital flipping car wreck. Someone should have told them if you’re going to steal from The Fast and the Furious franchise, the last thing to take is the CGI cars from number two. Aside from that this is truly a low budget homage complete with dolly/jib camera movements and fast cuts of feet pushing pedals and hands shifting gears. The only step backwards is the unnecessary cursing and nudity. Oh, and the CGI, unfortunately you won’t be able to miss that, unlike the nudity.
Cole S. McKay does a great job directing, getting the best out of his actors and actually framing shots (hurray!) so well you might think he was using a stolen storyboard from Justin Lin. This is writer Thunder Levin’s second script, and I hope The Asylum hires him back for more. I didn’t cringe once at any dialogue and the movie lagged very little, which is saying a lot for this studio.
The acting is surprisingly decent. Jaz Martin is convincing enough as the young college-bound brother who has to race one last time to avenge the death of his older sibling. AnnaMaria Demara plays the girlfriend/stripper role that looks to have been inspired for Megan Fox (especially some shots of her on the motorcycle, just reminds me of Transformers). Of course she out acts Fox easily, especially in a scene in which she is forced to dance for the big bad villain. Hennely Jimenez plays the female mechanic who can fix any hood to stay closed (yes, she’s just that good, watch for the scene in which she explains how ‘these will keep it from flying up’). She has a way about her that reminds me of Michelle Rodriguez, a tough guy’s girl. Darren Thomas is an effective and sometimes menacing bad guy. It’s strange that they didn’t go completely evil with the character, whereas the death of the brother is more of a mistake involving him than a murder by him. Zedrick Restauro and Jared Kahn blend well with the others as the lead’s friends and add a much needed spark to the group dynamic, particularly in the scene where they steal a car from an impound lot. But it’s Tommy Nash (this guy needs to work more!), as the old brother, that shines the brightest.
A lot of the racing scenes are real cars, but when it does switch over to CGI it’s ugly. In one particular scene the cop (ya, there’s only one in the whole city), played by the intimidating Paul Logan, chases down our speeding hero, and for some reason a helicopter tails them at about thirty feet off the ground for the last seconds of a four second clip. It all looks like a PlayStation (not 2 or 3, but the original) game. They should have stuck to the real stunt drivers, which aren’t bad, and just had off-screen crashes. It wouldn’t have saved the movie, but at least it would call less attention to the problem.
All in all not a bad flick, the best I’ve seen from The Asylum thus far outside of the comedy genre. Check it out if you like car movies, it’s about on-par with Redline.
Director: Cole S. McKay
Stars: Jaz Martin, Hennely Jimenez, AnnaMaria Demara, Tommy Nash
Buy It On Amazon