ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Camino (2016)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Josh C. Waller

Starring:
Zoe Bell/Avery
Nacho Vigalondo/Guillermo
Francisco Barreiro/Tomas
Sheila Vand/Marianna
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A photojournalist (Zoë Bell,) winds up running for her life from her guide (Nacho Vigalondo) and his crew in the jungles of Columbia when she witnesses the former commit an atrocity.
THE LOWDOWN

The only reason CAMINO caught my eye was due to 1- The trailer made it look like Rambo but with a chick. And 2- I love and highly respect Zoe Bell. She started off as a stuntwoman, then a stuntwoman that can act and now, in my book anyways, she’s an actress that can do her own stunts. Bell has been killing it acting wise now late in films like RAZE and THE HATEFUL EIGHT and she just sold me hardcore again in CAMINO.

The establishing of Bell’s wounded character in CAMINO and Bell’s visceral and grounded performance made sure to get my attention right away and basically kept me hooked, lined and sinkered (whatever the f*ck that means) throughout, even when the film wouldn’t live up to its own raison d’etre. Another stand out showcase here was director cum actor Nacho Vigalondo as the charismatic yet evil as sin Guillermo! Talk about a fantastic performance! Frightening, funny and eerie all at the same time. As opposed to chewing the scenery as most would do with a flamboyant part of this ilk; Vigalondo managed to hit the sweet spot in terms of his showcase: the grey zone. The result was a mesmerizing display. Every time that dude had a monologue (and he had at least 2 or 3 of them here) I was on the edge of my seat, taking it all in with delight. Good shite! What about the action you may ask. Well it was there and frequent enough. Problem was, although the film was gripping the whole way through and there was enough physical conflict at play here; nothing really stood out for me. So although I watched engaged, action wise, nothing floored me (more on that below).

Topple on top of that a sturdy supporting cast (Francisco Barreiro, Sheila Vand, Tenoch Huerta, Nancy Gomez and Kevin Pollak in a small role all owned it) a potent and often trippy aggressive score, impactful directing (loved the use of wide static shots) and editing (the use of still shots was aces) choices and visually striking locations and you get a decent watch! And here are my beefs with it! For starters the “ghost husband” device didn’t work for me. I’m very much aware that it was included to add depth to Bell's character but sadly for me, I found the execution to be a bit corny and distracting in terms of the main chain of events. But that’s just me. Who knows, it may have you reaching for the Kleenex box. There were a couple of dumb moves to serve the plot here too that took me out of the ride a bit (he’s stabbing my man, I’m standing near them, I have an AK, what do I do? Nothing. Whaaa????). Moreover, one turn of event having to do with a seemingly dead character back to life also had me scratching my head. Did he not die initially? Is he a ghost? I actually rewound the film twice and re-watched the scene to "get it" - I didn't. Am I moron (highly feasible) for not understanding what’s up? You tell me! Bottom line – me no comprende.

But as I addressed above, the film’s worse sin of all though were the fight/action scenes which went from good to below average – which for this type of flick is a big no-no. I’ll remember this one more as a drama than a survival action/horror flick – not sure if that was the I intent but I am sure that was not what I was craving from it. On the whole CAMINO was still effortless to sit through and Zoe Bell's and Nacho Vigalondo's performances alone were worth my che and ching! Worth a tap!

GORE
We get stabbings, gun shot wounds and one disturbing slit throat.
T & A
Zoe Bell looked fantastic in her undies and that tight top.
BOTTOM LINE
Expectations can play against a film. What I yearned from CAMINO (and how the trailer sold it) was a female driven action film – now I did get that to some degree – but sadly there was more axis on the drama than the action and I found that to be somewhat of a waste, specially when taking into account Bell’s superior stunt skills. On that I was still entertained, Nacho owned all, loved the Rambo II ish setting and the flick was technically tip-top. But with more stand out action, a couple of better decisions and the ghost shite shaved off, this could have been great as opposed to passable. But hey, the hell I know?! Check it out for yourselves and come back at me with comments below!
BULL'S EYE
Director Josh C. Waller served in the U.S Marine Corps from 1992 to 2000.

Screenwriter Daniel Noah was executive producer on Nacho Vigalondo's Open Windows (2014).
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