Paula Patton and Omar Epps face off against a violent biker gang in Deon Taylor’s action thriller.
The women get all the juicy action in Traffik, a cheesy, by-the-numbers action melodrama that takes itself seriously enough to pose as an expose of sex trafficking. An attractive cast led by a vibrant, all-in Paula Patton and spiffy visuals courtesy of renowned cinematographer Dante Spinotti make the sleaze and predictable plotting go down a bit easier than they would have otherwise, but there’s still no disguising the project’s fundamentally lurid underpinnings. The Codeblack/Lionsgate offering doesn’t look to last long in theaters. It’s fundamentally Patton’s show, as she somehow manages to keep her head above water and preserve her dignity and grit as Brea, a young woman whose expectations of a romantic weekend with her lover John (Omar Epps) are turned upside-down by a bunch of sleazebags who presume to invite themselves to the gorgeous remote house in the woods John has scored from his slick lawyer buddy Darren (Laz Alonso).
After John and Brea, who are black, have an altercation with some scuzzy white bikers at a gas station, you know it’s only a matter of time until the bad ol’ boys turn up to give the city folk a very bad time, indeed. But while we’re waiting, writer-director Deon Taylor (Supremacy, Meet the Blacks) indulges in some scenic swimming pool hanky-panky that serves to put Brea in just the right mood, which is broken when the impulsive Darren annoys John to no end by showing up unannounced with his lady friend Malia (Roselyn Sanchez) just as John prepares to pop the question. But Darren is more than welcome compared to the visitors who turn up next. First comes a sketchy gal (Dawn Olivieri) with whom Brea had a weird encounter at the gas stop and whose phone full of photos of abused and unhappy-looking women Brea unaccountably finds in her possession. And not far behind are the bad boys, whose leader (Luke Goss) predictably initiates a slaughter that eventually takes down a fair percentage of the cast.