Action Comedy

Toronto After Dark Review: ‘H4Z4RD’ Delivers High-Octane Thrills for Fans of Adrenaline-Fueled Action

October 21, 2022Ben MK

From Luc Besson's The Transporter and Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive to Edgar Wright's Baby Driver and Michael Bay's Ambulance, the character archetype of the getaway driver is a familiar one, especially within the action genre. Now, director Jonas Govaerts is taking this tried-and-true movie trope out for another spin, in this tale of a heist gone wrong and the man who unwittingly finds himself entangled in a web of street gangs, organized crime syndicates, and one bad decision after another.

Unfolding over the course of one chaotic day in Antwerp, the film follows Noah Dalton (Dimitri 'Vegas' Thivaios), a guy with golden-hued Lexus, a girlfriend named Lea (Jennifer Heylen) and a young daughter named Zita (Mila Rooms). But when Noah's troublemaking, wannabe rapper cousin Carlos (Jeroen Perceval), who happens to be fresh out of prison after serving a three-year sentence, enlists his help to steal a briefcase full of a prototype drug from the home of a mysterious woman named Ms. Brasschaat (Monic Hendrickx), Noah will have to put his driving skills to the test. Racing against the clock to save Zita, who's been kidnapped in retaliation for the robbery, Noah and Carlos must contend with everything from a security guard with an automobile fetish to a group of Gen Z hoodlums and a bloodthirsty hound with a taste for human flesh, as they speed their way through the city, evading both the authorities and innocent pedestrians alike. As the seconds tick down, however, will they succeed in rescuing Zita from her captors? Or will Noah and Carlos crash and burn in a fiery spectacle of twisted metal?

For viewers in the mood for high-octane entertainment that doesn't have the words "Fast" or "Furious" in the title, it's impossible to fault the result too harshly, as it's certainly not without its share of vehicular mayhem, not to mention some hilariously over-the-top blood and carnage. Ultimately, though, H4Z4RD never quite manages to shift into high gear. And while it by no means comes close to sputtering out, it still leaves much to be desired — at least for fans of adrenaline-fueled cinema hoping to maximize their mileage.

H4Z4RD makes its Canadian premiere at the 2022 Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 28 min.

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