Style Over Substance
It's been ten years since a group of criminals pulled off a brutal robbery of a casino with it remaining clear in the mind of four of them. It is those four, having escaped from prison, which set out to find the fifth member of their gang and get their share of the loot. The thing is that the fifth member is Bishop (Lennie James) who not only can't remember a thing about the robbery as he suffered a brain injury at the time but he is now the sheriff of small town in the middle of the desert.
"Swelter" is anything but a complicated movie as we have the former robber who can't remember his past now acting as a lawman and trying to keep his step-daughter from making a boyfriend mistake. But we have four escaped convicts looking for him and the money they stole. There is more to it than that but it certainly isn't a movie which is going to mentally put a strain on audiences yet it is a movie which will make an audience question whether or not they want to give over 96 minutes of their life to it.
The reason why is that "Swelter" is a movie dominated by a director influenced by the likes of Tarantino and Rodriguez and trying to deliver that sense of style as well as mystery when it comes down to the characters. Unfortunately reaching for this level of style and delivering the mean and moodiness needs not only a good script but well written characters and when you don't have these all the styling and musical choices start to become one of two things; either what the movie ends up being memorable for or superfluous with fancy scenes which add nothing in moving the story along. Sadly it is the latter and as such there is a chance you will become bored of what is going on before any revelations appear or before Jean-Claude Van Damme really does anything.
What this all boils down to is that maybe with the right story and better written characters director Keith Parmer might have scored a hit but sadly "Swelter" ends up a movie filled with style but not enough quality to back it up.