When Chili Ngcobo, an honest but ambitious undercover cop, is cheated out of a major reward by his corrupt superiors, he infiltrates a cash-in-transit heist gang, and, instead of bringing them down, decides to participate in a one-off score. He must face off against his partner, who refuses to let him do it, and one of the gang members, who recognises him as a cop.
What we thought:
Set in Jozi and Soweto and coloured with Tsotsitaal, writer and director Donovan Marsh tells this story of corruption and crime in a gritty orange hue, scattered subtitles and point of view, shaky camera shots that takes you into the centre of all the action.
The opening scene sets the stage for the movie. Chili (S'dumo Mtshali) is held hostage tied to a chair, outnumbered by the bad guys, will he escape? With an impressive chair busting move he takes down his captor but he still has the other ‘rotte’ to deal with. And with the help of his partner Shoes (Presley Chweneyagae) who acts as his eyes he single handily takes down the rest of the bad guys.
High on their victory the partners go to claim their reward but get cheated out of it by their corrupt captain. The hot headed Chili is angry and frustrated with being broke and being at the mercy of his corrupt superiors and decides to infiltrate a cash-in-transit heist gang and instead of brining them to book, he will do a once off job with them. He half forces his partner to become his accomplice and so the two set down a path that will change their lives.
As Chili, Mtshali gives a brilliant performance of the archetypical broody cop character. He’s the rogue cop who does things his way to get the job done. Chweneyage’s character is the total opposite. And he holds his own next to Mtshali. He is essentially the voice of Mtshali’s conscience. Together the two form a formidable pair.
The mismatched gang of thieves are made up of colourful characters: the fat cat gangster boss (Owen Sejake), an ex military (Brandon Auret), a tough chick (Hlubi Mboya), a hardcore thug (Israel Makoe), a Cape flats gangster (Brendon Daniels), the ‘gentleman’ gangster (Warren Masemola), a dimwit (Percy Matsemela) and the ex celebrity turned criminal (Carlo Radebe).
Each of them bring to the team a unique skill. They embody their characters and as an ensemble they work well together. Amongst them there are internal tensions and rivalries that will eventually lead to their own downfall.
While the film is filled with intensity, action and suspense, at the heart it explores themes rife within our society: corrupt officials, policemen struggling to make ends meet and as a result struggle to stay on the straight and narrow and the different types of gang culture within society.
This is an action blockbuster filled with tension, double crossing, gunfire and explosion. Although it draws from the Hollywood action recipe it has a uniquely South African feel and story that will grip you and keep you entertained.