A heist movie without a heist, Paydirt is the latest feature film to be written and directed by Christian Sesma. Starring Luke Goss as suave criminal Damien Brooks, this low-thrills action flick sees Brooks, fresh out on parole, reunite with his crew to retrieve millions of dollars worth of cartel money they stole five years previously. Some rather stylish visuals and an enjoyably pulpy tone in the opening scenes give an initial impression of good things to come; but unfortunately, it’s all downhill from here – and it’s a very steep hill.
The main reason why viewers may be interested in this film is to see Val Kilmer back in action. Playing washed-up sheriff William Tucker, out for revenge on Brooks after a mishap during his arrest led to Tucker’s downfall, Kilmer’s performance is easily the best thing about his latest project, with scenes opposite his real-life daughter injecting rare moments of tenderness. Just don’t expect to see a lot of him here because he’s barely featured onscreen. And when he does appear, the lines he’s given are horribly cliched. Not even Batman could make this script sound interesting.
Instead of spending time with Kilmer, viewers will spend most of the runtime with Brooks and his crew, who are far less interesting and a lot more irritating. Wholly two-dimensional in their designs, these characters are the epitome of every genre trope we’ve already seen dozens of times before. Sesma attempts to flesh out his characters and their friendships with humour; the result is a long shot from the quirky and colourful tone the filmmaker was aiming for, despite genuine efforts from the cast to give their characters some character.
In addition to the annoying roster of anti-heroes, some strange plot holes (in one scene Brooks asks for a lift back despite us seeing him drive to the meeting point moments earlier), and unashamedly poor action scenes, Paydirt’s oddest stumbling point is it fails to deliver on the heist part of its premise. Much of the film is dedicated to Brooks tracking down his crew and explaining his plan. But before said plan can be executed, we’re thrown straight to the (unearned) climactic showdown.
To its credit, Paydirt is dedicated to sticking to its loud and zany tone. The downside is that watching it isn’t all that enjoyable.
Paydirt is released digitally on demand on 24th August 2020.
Watch the trailer for Paydirt here: