Directed by: #NicholasMaude
Written by: #FionaLynn
Awkward forced comedy desperately trying to evoke the iconic writings of Quentin Tarantino and Shane Black crammed into stilted framing, Red Mustang from director Nicholas Maude has little on offer. Entirely focusing on a conversation between two undercover police officers Jay and Tyler in a parked car, Maude has the film edited to cut with every new line of cringe dialogue but it does nothing to create an engaging rhythm to the film. Bao Tieu as Tyler is the chill, laid back detective while Samuel Kelly IV is the more straight-laced cop Jay who finds his partner’s attitude baffling.
The whole film is a riff of snappy back and forth between Jay and Tyler trying to force comedy out of the whole notion of undercover police work and how their two personalities clash. It’s all very obvious with Kelly and Tieu having next to no chemistry or believability in their delivery. Fiona Lynn’s writing feels very much like “scripted banter” and the dialogue never establishes a tangible basis of realism for the audience to invest in. It all feels obviously performed from the enunciation to the body language which just undercuts the intended natural flow to this type of repartee, making the characters feel hollow. The cinematography locks the look of the film between two shots of Tieu sitting in his seat, and Kelly sitting in his seat, cutting back and forth repeatedly as Maude is unable to offer any visual flair in Red Mustang.
The script focuses on creating humorous conflict between these two characters and quickly establishing the stakes of how they can’t mess up their next stakeout; Red Mustang operates more like a sketch than a short film. The payoff to the character’s story acts more like a deflated punchline to a joke the audience stopped paying attention to. The observational comedy between Jay and Tyler isn’t particularly funny and often aims for low brow humour with Bao Tieu and Samuel Kelly IV performance’s coming off as very derivative. Maude isn’t able to direct Red Mustang with any charisma either as the combination of static shots against hackneyed characters just make for a short forgettable experience.
Red Mustang wants to be snappy and quick on its feet, hitting the audience with the goods and dashing out like a comedic stylish smash and grab. Unfortunately, the film is left without any notable style or engrossing characters and just leaves everything in the shadows of its obvious inspirations.