As one of the big Hollywood names of a generation, Val Kilmer has been there, done that, and has mustered up a loyal following of people who are an admirer of his work. In 2017, the actor announced that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer and had to undergo a tracheotomy to help him breathe, fans would be understanding if the man who once portrayed Batman on our screens decided to step away from the camera.
So when the actor was attached to Christian Sesma’s Paydirt, it added some big name value to the gangster-turned-heist movie, acting as the foil to the films lead Luke Goss. However, in reality, Kilmer’s role is very minimal – with his dialogue being dubbed with minimal effort to match the actor’s pre-tracheotomy voice – and a lot of the heavy lifting is left to Goss.
The film itself is as if Sesma’ thought he’d take some of Guy Ritchie’s directorial tropes and add a pinch of the Ocean’s franchise to them.
On paper, this sounds like an interesting concept, but the execution just was not there. Kilmer plays Sheriff Tucker, who lost his job in disgrace after a botched drug bust. Tucker has gone to seed in the intervening six years, haunted by his failure to catch The Brit (Goss) with the goods.
After serving time The Brit, better known as Damien Brooks, gets his rag tag gang back together – all of which have equally as awful b-list nicknames.
Once all back together the crew a plan to retrieve the stashed-away $33 million they stole from a Mexican drug lord (Jay Montalvo). A drug lord, of course, who wants his ill-gotten gain returned to him.
The trouble being that the Brit has to carry out all his plans while his beautiful parole officer (Mirtha Michelle) tries to keep an eye on him. But her leniency makes her role incredibly obvious to the viewer before it is revealed what her real intentions are.
The issue Paydirt suffers from, is it tries to rely on narrative rather than action and by the time we are nearly an hour into the film, it feels like nothing really of note has happened. The saving grace of the film is the pay off at the end where all the plans are revealed in an Ocean’s style montage and it gives the viewer some semblance of an explanation. But for the most part, Paydirt is a film which you can glide through without having to put much thought into.
Goss is a stand out, playing Brookes with the confidence you’d expect from a character who thinks he can get away with murder. For his part, Kilmer gives this film a star power name, but very little else. Paydirt is a film which on paper looks like a good idea, but the pay off does not leave a good feeling for the viewer.
Dir: Christian Sesma
Scr: Christian Sesma
Cast: Luke Goss, Val Kilmer, Mike Hatton, Paul Sloan, Nick Vallelonga, Mirtha Michelle, Veronika Bozeman, Murielle Telio
Prd: Jack Campbell
Music: James Murray, Mark Woodford
Run time: 81 minutes
Released on DVD and digital Monday 24th August 2020