Akilla’s Escape overview – Jamaican gangsters on the run in philosophy-spouting story

Akilla’s Escape overview – Jamaican gangsters on the run in philosophy-spouting story

Canadian-Jamaican director Charles Officer’s second function appears flashy, sounds cool and – Ghost Canine-style – likes to fling out shurikens of japanese philosophy each which approach. However this story of freelance underworld fixer Akilla Brown, performed with careworn knowledge by Saul Williams, doesn’t reside as much as its sharp tailoring and has an excessive amount of religion in fatigued beats from the gangster-film locker.

Journeyman Akilla is about to retire from the unlawful cannabis-distribution enterprise in Toronto, rendered redundant by legalisation. However he finds himself on the top of a double-barrel shotgun when a depot belonging to “the Greek”, his boss, is raided by rival hoodlums. Because of his sang-froid, the heist runs off the rails, and Akilla steps in to cease his crew from torturing younger soldier Sheppard (Thamela Mpumlwana) who, minutes earlier, was about to blow his brains out.

As he goes on the run, his new-found function as babysitter to Sheppard units him to reminisce on his personal entry as a youth (additionally performed by Mpumlwana) into gangsterism in New York, inculcated by his crime lord father Clinton (Ronnie Rowe), who is filled with Jamaican grit and Solar Tzu quotations. The alternation between timelines works decently sufficient, however the supposed impression – a mirrored image on violence handed down the generations – is blunted by the stilted scene-writing. Particularly within the early phases, it’s full of off-the-peg powerful speak (“Your homeboys took one thing from somebody to not be fucked with”) and inventory crime-flick predicaments which might be indifferently executed.

Largely shot in pulsating nocturnal fluorescence and soundtracked to freeze-dried beats from Large Assault’s 3D and rapping from Williams, Akilla’s Escape has simple fashion. And contrasting nicely with the stolid Williams, Mpumlwana impresses in his twin roles – notably in a standout bagman scene, one with a uncommon originality right here, when junior Akilla comes out unexpectedly on prime in a Latino cantina. Nevertheless it’s all not fairly sufficient to get Officer’s movie to reside as much as its pretensions, that are additionally current within the overlong opening credit discoursing on Jamaican historical past and corruption; themes hinted at later however which by no means solely bloom.

Akilla’s Escape is launched on 26 August in cinemas.

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