At this point in his career, music video director Benny Boom is more of an imitator than a filmmaker. His feature film debut Next Day Air, a violent crime/comedy driven by half-baked druggies and misunderstandings, was definitely inspired by the early work of Quentin Tarantino. Boom’s latest project 48 Hours to Live plays as a three-way collision between the trippy in-your-face antics of Argentinian provocateur Gaspar Noé, your average American television crime drama, and dance sequences seen in mainstream early-2000s pop culture.
As much as that combination may itch at your curiosity, it doesn’t add up to much. It’s as if Boom’s hybrid was so extreme, each genre cancelled the others out.
For starters, it’s a film that takes itself too seriously. 48 Hours to Live is at war with itself. It wants to present a brooding mystery of a vengeful brother hunting down his sister’s murderer, yet it wants to be as glossy and harmless as its club scene. My guess is that the emotional lining has been stripped by multiple screenwriters with different intentions (Rashad El Amin and Stomp the Yard’s Gregory Ramon Anderson adapted a screenplay penned by Hannah Macpherson), therefore leading to tonal miscommunication.
Meanwhile, all Benny Boom wants to do is throw a party and top the film off with a sensual music video featuring leading man James Maslow of Big Time Rush. The hip hop choreography does break up the dreariness, but it often translates as gratuitous filler when the film comes to a complete stop to show talented dancers popping-and-locking. There’s a time and a place for Benny Boom’s flashy habits. I bet he could revamp the sexiness in the Step Up series.
I didn’t like Next Day Air, but it made me eager to see what Benny Boom would do next – a high compliment to pay to a bad movie. I have the same feelings toward 48 Hours to Live. It’s a dour mess, but I’m still rooting for Boom.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie