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Director: Mark Lebenon
Screenplay: Mark Lebenon
Cast: Roland Gaspar, Malcolm Ferreira, Jackie Rens, Nicole Smart, Liam Massey
Producers: Pia van Rensburg, Andrew Gibb
Distributor: Mean Street Pictures
2009 | 12 min
French language, English subtitles
George is the kind of guy who just can’t say no. Ask him to do any old task and he’ll do it, even if it means staying late at the office and missing a romantic dinner with his wife Karen. She’s pretty much fed up with this aspect of George’s character, and their relationship is suffering for it. One evening when he finally thinks he can spend a little time with Karen, George gets a phone call from “the Chinaman,” a heavy-duty gangster with a proposition for him. Nobody says no to a criminal of this guy’s stature, that much George is sure of, and he’s not about to put Karen in danger. His mission seems simple enough—steal some data from the computer of one of the Chinaman’s enemies. Of course, it’s hardly that simple. Within just a few minutes, George has blood on his hands, some nasty hitmen on his tail and a rather impatient Chinaman on the line. When his precious USB key ends up in a rather embarrassing location, explaining to Karen why he’ll be a little late is the least of George’s problems.
All manner of academic terminology might be applied in describing SLAM-BANG, but only one phrase really does it justice—this flick rocks! Straight out of South Africa comes this roaring rush of adrenaline bursting with sound and fury, a movie that will leave this summer’s multiplex action offerings in its dust. For his debut feature, shot with the cutting-edge Panasonic P2HD camera, Mark Lebenon shreds the screen with this gripping manhunt movie pulsing with the same radical energy as the best work of Michael Mann. As far as violence and gore are concerned, SLAM-BANG delivers the goods in spades, its small budget affording it the freedom to indulge the most ferocious excesses. In the suspense department, this devilish tale twists and turns with endless surprises, one after the other, at a breathless pace interrupted only by jabs of decidedly black humour. The polar opposite of the African productions that usually screen at Montreal’s film fests, SLAM-BANG makes no explicit reference to the political situation in its country, going for straight-up, edge-of-your-seat excitement instead. Gunplay, femmes fatales and careening car chases are after all key components of the international language of action cinema. One of the year’s most exciting discoveries, SLAM-BANG is a tsunami of thrills on par with the best roller-coaster ride.