With a one-way-street plot and characters as sophisticated as an oil change, Gallic car-chaser “Go Fast” keeps the pedal to the metal as it tries to race past its numerous flaws. B-grade tale of a vengeful cop — played by a buffed-up Roschdy Zem — who infiltrates a band of high-speeding drug smugglers features plenty of impressive Formula 1-level driving but forgets to slow down so auds will actually give a hoot. Pic has coasted through its Oct. 1 local release to a comfy 500,000 admissions, but looks unlikely to have enough gas to cross the Pond.
Based on an idea by real-life police captain/co-writer Jean-Marc Souvira, the story takes a much more gung-ho, cop-friendly approach to the genre than recent French policiers “MR 73” or “Le petit lieutenant.”
Opening reels provide plenty of rapid, low-key action as viewers are introduced to undercover agent Marek (Zem) and his field boss, Jean-Do Paoli (Olivier Gourmet). When a stakeout goes sour, Paoli gets offed in the crossfire, and Marek is transferred to a new unit that will allow him to hunt his boss’ killers.
After intensive physical and psychological reconditioning (filmed at an actual police training facility), Marek infiltrates a rowdy bunch of speed demons who earn quick cash steering cars full of drugs from Malaga to Paris. Shifting locations to a Moroccan marijuana farm, a Spanish drug lord’s hideaway and, in its final half-hour, the highways connecting Spain and France, pic becomes a pure adrenaline affair of cars and narcotics.
Director Olivier Van Hoofstadt (Belgian comedy “Dikkenek”) offers up lots of well-crafted driving sequences that will be pure eye-candy to anyone who enjoys Audi or Saab commercials. Auds looking for less of a ride and more of a script will be disappointed by pic’s latter half, which features several additional characters who are given as much development, and lines, as a team of crash-test dummies.
Zem gives a convincingly stoical perf considering the limited material he has to work with. Slick, expensive-looking tech package features sharp widescreen lensing by Jean-Francois Hensgens. Alexandre Azaria’s score is filled with bass-heavy beats that are perfect for cruising.