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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Nitro

A car-chase romp in the vein of 2 Fast 2 Furious, but without the Hollywood budget to pull it off.
The fast and the dubious: Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge and Lucie Laurier burn rubber in vain.
The fast and the dubious: Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge and Lucie Laurier burn rubber in vain.

Nitro is a film with pretensions to be a car-chasing action romp in the vein of 2 Fast 2 Furious, but without the Hollywood budget to pull it off. Yet financial constraints can be no excuse for a plot that seems constantly stuck in the wrong gear. The pre-credit sequence showcases an exhilarating road race between the macho Max (Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge) and the feisty pilot Morgane (Lucie Laurier). The race is an excuse to highlight the chemistry between the two rival drivers, so it's a genuine surprise when the credit sequence signals a time jump nine years forward, where the now meek Max is happily married to Alice (Mryriam Tallard) with a young son (played by the director's son, Antoine Desrochers).

This is where Alain Desrochers' plot overheats on a ludicrous scale. Alice is in need of a heart transplant and Max decides that the only way that he can save her life is by revisiting his past and finding a heart donor. The action unravels with a mixture of flashbacks that reveal why Max gave up driving and how he met Alice, and over-expositional conversations, especially after Max meets his old flame Morgane, now a celebrity driver.

In the film's favour, the story moves along at the pace of Lewis Hamilton, leaving little time to dwell on the ludicrous characters and the holes in the plot. There are also a couple of neat twists as the anti-hero Max continually makes bad decisions, such as killing an undercover cop he believes is a gangster ensuring that the movie isn't a total waste of time. But for every plus there is a roadblock of minuses around every corner. The cheesy ending is particularly ludicrous in this misfiring action adventure.