by Charles Kirkland Jr.
Self-proclaimed idea generator, Deon Taylor diverges from his comedic horror roots to brings a modern tale of terror based upon true events to the big screen in Traffik.
Brea (Paula Patton) is a serious journalist in Sacramento. Unfortunately, her editor has given away the big story she has been developing and fired her on her birthday. Slightly dismayed, she joins her boyfriend John (Omar Epps) and his friends, Malia (Roselyn Sanchez) and Darren (Laz Alonso) for a celebratory dinner. John surprises Brea by giving her a weekend away in a mountain cabin, during which he plans to pop the question. On the way to the cabin, Brea has a strange encounter with an emaciated and jittery woman named Cara (Dawn Olivieri) in a gas station bathroom while John gets into an altercation with some bikers. Once they get to the cabin and are joined by Darren and Malia, a phone rings in Brea’s purse. The phone has evidence of human trafficking in it and Brea is immediately thrust into a new story. Until the owner of the phone arrives…
Traffik is written, directed and produced by Deon Taylor, the mind behind the comedy horror flick Meet the Blacks which parodied the Purge movie series. Unfortunately, Taylor’s movie comes across as little more than a parody of last year’s Halle Berry outing, Kidnap. While Traffik’s is admittedly smarter than Kidnap’s Karla (which isn’t saying much), Brea still lacks the intelligence that an investigative journalist should possess. Taylor could not have spent more than an hour writing a script that contained lines that were more than cliché, ridiculous and contextually irrelevant like Brea’s “I just don’t want to be hurt again” which she utters in another bathroom scene (he must love them) to Malia about the possibility of getting married to John.
For a movie with such a short runtime (98 minutes), it is hard to understand how it is so slow. The pacing of this movie is horrible. Traffik drags through its exposition in eighteen long minutes before Brea meets Cara. It takes another ridiculous twelve minutes before anything of any consequence happens. More than deliberate, the movie is painstakingly slow in development and by the time the action kicks in, the viewers have been lulled into an uncaring unconsciousness.
Taylor overplays his strength by pushing the Patton envelope. Patton (2 Guns, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) spends most of her screen time nearly undressed which on any other occasion would be a reason to celebrate but except for one wildly unnecessary pool scene, in this case, are the result of disturbing and dangerous situations.
Rated R for violent and disturbing material, language throughout, some drug use and sexual content, Traffik is an incoherent, nonsensical waste of time, just like those highway traffic jams that disappear without reason. I enjoy seeing a half-naked Paula Patton as almost anyone but please “Refuse to be a victim” of this film. During one scene of the movie, Darren says he can’t watch anymore. I concur, brother, I concur.