Directed by #HowardJFord
Written by #HowardJFord
Any trailer for this film does not do it justice. Howard J. Ford’s ‘Adventure Boyz’ is a fun family feel-good feature with a strong message. Ford was worried about his sons using technology rather than playing outside, so he decided to cast them in a film that explores just that. With a beautiful backdrop of Eastbourne and the Sussex downs, young boys Sam (Rory Ford) and Jake (Felix Ford) are taken on a wild ride in more ways than one when they get caught in the middle of a diamond heist.
This is an intriguing narrative from the offset, as protagonists Jake and Sam understand their luck and privilege with having a well-known father (played by Howard J. Ford) and a nice life to follow suit. Both boys use everything that their father teaches them to go through each scenario in the film, ultimately leading to a nice series of familial life lessons. The script is cheeky and comedic in the right way, doing well to capture a witty family dynamic from the perspective of a young boy. It explores issues from the dangers of bike riding within a family, a father who is struggling to adapt, plus a commentary on technology in families who are replacing exercise with things such as online gaming. Especially in the wake of what is happening in the UK and across the world right now, the fear of everyone living in their screens is a contemporary anxiety.
Ford’s direction is mindful of these issues and expresses them within a father/son frame of love. The film feels like real life, whilst offering escapism in the form of family-friendly viewing. The familial relationships are believable because they are real; the Ford boys' acting is endearing and they both express their own individual talent through Jake and Sam’s mature fraternal dialogue. They capture the essence of their characters extremely well and make the film even more fun to watch.
Beautiful shots of the Sussex downs and all that surrounds it sandwich each scene, making the film a real poster-ad for Eastbourne. Natural light is used very effectively in the clever camera shots by cinematographer Travellian Skipaldi, contributing to a great vision of the South East. This is the type of film that makes kids long for summer, so that they can go out and explore what their neighbourhood has to offer beyond their street. Ford’s vision is a specific, yet relatable one.
Imran Ahmad creates atmosphere with sound in the tense moments of the film. Score brings out the fearfulness of the stereotypical villain Vladislav (Jon Campling) who overrules the film’s family friendly anxieties, along with his two dense (and apparently unfit!) sidekicks (Russell Shaw, Glen Salvage) who try to antagonise the boys for their stolen goods. For Jake and Sam, fending off the thieves becomes reminiscent of ‘Home Alone,’ which is always an enjoyable family watch.
Although interesting to watch through a social-distancing (or indeed a self-isolating) lens, ‘Adventure Boyz’ provides a nice bit of escapism from all that is going on in the world. It will be great to follow Howard J. Ford’s future work when normality resumes, his filmmaking blending family feel-good with thought-provoking life lessons.
Director Howard J. Ford on BBC News: