30th Aug2019

‘Expo’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Derek Davenport, Amelia Haberman, Hayley Vrana, Richard Lippert, Shepsut Wilson, Titus Covington, Michael C. Alvarez, Jay Alfonso Lopez Jr., Richard O. Ryan | Written and Directed by Joseph Mbah

expo-poster

The director of Krampus Origins, Joseph Mbah, tries his hand at a different kind of movie with his third feature film, the action thriller Expo. The film tells the story of a struggling ex-soldier Richard (Derek Davenport) who misses a pick-up during his driving shift. That mistake allows Chris (Richard Lippert) to kidnap Richard’s would-be passenger, Lyla Swift (Hayley Vrana), so he can sell her to the highest bidder on the dark web. Given that he was supposed to collect Lyla Richard becomes the chief suspect in Detective Moro’s (Michael C. Alvarez) case. With only three days to prove his innocence, is forced to utilize his military training to save Lyla or face time for a crime he did not commit…

Expo so badly wants to be Taken by way of Commando but fails at every turn. The biggest failing is its lead character Richard, a man who is supposed to be a military veteran but couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag – in fact he spends more time moping around or getting the shit kicked out of him. He’s the very definition of what we Brits call a “wet lettuce”. When he does eventually get violent it’s like watching a roided-out psychopath rather than an action hero.

The make-up and effects work is terrible, so much so that at one point our “hero” looks like a zombie rather than a guy that’s been in a fist fight. Scars look like slugs, bruises look black rather than purple and the make-up used to create injuries just looks like someone’s applied too much powdered foundation! It makes Richard look completely laughable, which means the audience is left laughing at him rather than rooting for him.. Remarkably by the mid-point in the film I just wished someone would out Richard, and the audience out of its misery.

Then there are ridiculous flashbacks to Richard’s career in the army, which look like a bunch of guys having a LARPing weekend. Then there’s the other flashbacks, to Richard and his younger sister Sarah (Amelia Haberman) living on the streets. Jesus Christ, it’s like watching a piss-take done so badly that it becomes a parody of itself. In fact Expo is so bad the film could – if the distributors wanted – be sold as a parody of the genre!

OK, so this film has an absurd hero, but a film about a pervert who kidnaps young girls and sells them on the dark web has to have a remarkable villain right? Wrong. The only thing this villain does is play with his food and tease his captives with it. Literally. It’s bizarre, he’s steps on a burger and makes a girl eat it; he opens a sweet, licks it, puts it in his mouth then gives it to one of the girls who’s so desperate for food she eats it. Stupid, stupid, stupid. But then what should I have expected from the director of Krampus Origins, the worst film in the not-so-great direct-to-market Krampus franchise?

There’s odd and frankly out of place reveal at the end of Expo which I’m going to spoil right now because a) you won’t make it that far into the film to find out; and b) you SHOULDN’T watch the film that long that you get to that point for yourself! So what’s the secret? Well it seems the creepy pervy leader of the kidnappers is a clone! An experimental clone of an apparent US Army General/Major/whatever who has gone off the rails and turned psycho. Yeah, this is definitely the films major WTF! moment is a sea of WTF moments… and one that, sadly, leaves this film open for a sci-fi conspiratorial sequel. Arrrrrghhh!

Expo is available on VOD now from Green Apple Entertainment.

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