Paintball (2009)

Paintball is a complete mess. Terribly directed, poorly scripted, awkwardly acted and incredibly frustrating – under all this waste lies a great concept, but it’s horribly squandered. Amateurish and disappointing. Avoid.

Eight adrenaline junkies enter the Redball Woods paintball tournament, pitted against another team of unknowns. Their target is to collect six flags across the huge woodland arena. What begins as a disorganized, messy battle for some semi-pointless flags quickly becomes a fight for survival, as both teams discover there is a third adversary… someone who’s brought along his own weaponry, and the only colour he wants to see sprayed everywhere is red. Blood red.

Beginning with a cheesy, tongue-in-cheek video advertising Redball Woods European Paintball tournament you expect a pithy, smart horror… but this never appears. This advert is merely a plot device to help the audience understand what the tournament is. Two paintball teams, eight strangers on each, all blind-folded and taken into the wilderness to play the best game of their life. Great concept – appallingly made.

There is so much wrong with Paintball it feels almost entirely pointless to mention it all here. The direction, the writing, the acting, the cinematography, the soundtrack… everything. It’s all exceptionally poor, and it feels like someone took the Sistine Chapel of ideas and drew a big picture of a stick man in it’s place. With a brush made of faeces.

What is incredibly distracting in Paintball is the acting. Presumably everyone within the piece can actually act, but it’s a group made up of Spanish and British actors all trying to sound American, for absolutely no discernable reason. Redball Woods is in Europe, and no one even mentions America. The bad accents are actually detrimental to the film, as the actors seem to be concentrating more on getting them right than actually taking time to act. England’s Neil Maskell is especially out of place, having recently spun memorable turns in the likes of Doghouse and Tony: London Serial Killer.

Paintball has a very good idea at it’s heart, a concept that legitimately throws together a group of strangers into a wilderness with no phones and no escape. Sadly the director, writer and actors completely squander this, turning a potential cult classic into a bumbling, frustrating mess. Never have I uttered these words about a film before, but this needs a remake by a better, more professional team. Yep, a remake. What could’ve been gold turned out to be a moldy Caramac floating in sewage…. and so confounding that it’s forcing a barrage of terrible metaphors into this review.

Yet what is the concept? Nutcase hunts some paintball enthusiasts? Yes, but it’s more than that. Taking elements of Hostel, Battle Royale and even the current Predators film, their assailant might not be a homicidal lunatic, but something more disturbing – he might be at work. Revealing more might spoil a potential remake, but it’s craftily designed to slowly ebb its way into the film rather than be obvious right from the beginning. Who is it? Is he being employed? By who? And why? This mystery is about the only decent thing in the entire film, but even that’s not hugely original.

There are some semi-quality moments – acid paintballs, skull crushing in heat-vision, paintball grenades inside a bulletproof vest – but these are very few and far between, and with vastly unlikable characters there’s almost literally nothing to keep you from turning it off and snapping the disc in half.

At times it appears like a poorly improvised outdoor theatre piece. There’s no character development, it’s needlessly melodramatic and no one seems quite confident enough to believe what they’re doing is right. There are unacceptable leaps of logic and character, with moments of totally out of place barbarism. It’s bafflingly awkward and the fault of director, writer and actors – a horrible combination that failed miserably.

Paintball is a terrible film. It has a great concept but it is appallingly made with absolutely hateful results. Seriously avoid.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

One Comment on “Paintball”

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