Hot Take: For everyone who has seen a flyer about human trafficking at a rest stop and thought that might make an interesting movie… too bad it didn’t.
Traffik is obviously a B-movie. It’s over-the-top depiction of trafficking intertwined with a dream-to-nightmare weekend thriller fails to work as entertainment and dually misses the opportunity to educate outside of a few blurbs that roll right before the credits with facts and figures on the prevalence of human trafficking in our country. It’s a sad, difficult and often boring watch that shows every bit of its scant budget but at least proves the ’70s haven’t cornered the market on exploitation flicks.
In Traffik, journalist Brea (Paula Patton) and boyfriend John (Omar Epps) head to the mountains to a beautiful secluded rental home for a romantic weekend. On the way there, a group of bikers and a strange woman (Dawn Olivieri) cross their paths. The bikers look for trouble but the couple gets to their destination only to discover that the woman — a victim of human trafficking — had slipped a satellite phone in Brea’s bag. Soon enough, the owner of the phone and the strange woman (who also work with, surprise(!), the bikers) come knocking and things turn deadly.
Traffik feels cut from the grindhouse picture cloth and, at times, shows signs of life. Unfortunately, each scene lasts about a minute longer than it should and eventually, instead of grindhouse, the movie grinds to a near halt. In the end, the film devolves into a depressing PSA against human trafficking and is only lacking a sad Sarah McLachlan song running over the visuals to deliver more emotion.
This is definitely a step up from director Deon Taylor’s last effort. Then again, his last effort was 2016’s Meet the Blacks which inexplicably is set for a sequel later this year and will also be directed by Taylor so saying it’s a step up isn’t saying much. Patton is pretty decent in the lead role although she’s subjected to being scantily clad throughout and any opportunity they have to get her wearing less is taken by Taylor and company. She does prove to be more than Robin Thicke’s ex and maybe at some point will garner a bigger role than she’s been able to get at this point in her career. As for the message on human trafficking, it’s importance might not outweigh the lack of enthusiasm viewers are likely to show for this mess of a movie. It’s a missed opportunity.
You’re familiar with Patton’s rather lengthy but under-the-radar resume and have been impressed when she’s appeared… even in Warcraft.
You prefer you’re films named Traffic to be about drugs.