10th August 2020 (UK VOD Premiere)
When a young boy in need of fast money is enlisted to take part in a race n’ chase event, his dangerous decision soon means his days behind the wheel are numbers when his victory means a crime lord loses out on a sizable bet.
Daniel Markowicz, Michal Otlowski
Tomasz Wlosok, Karolina Szymczak, Cezary Pazura
Diablo: The Ultimate Race opens with a scene of an illegal street race about to begin. Our lead character Kuba, a talented and skilled driver, ingratiates himself with a cool guy who introduces him to another cool guy and soon enough Kuba is the newest member of a crew. The only fly in the ointment is that this crew indulges in activities that are not quite legal and soon Kuba is dragged into a world of criminals and danger.
Reading the above and you would not be mistaken for thinking that that all sounds a bit too familiar. Therein lies Diablo: The Ultimate Race’s main issue – there is nothing remotely original about it. Watching this film and you will be reminded of a dozen others. Unfortunately they are probably all better films too.
Kuba, played by Tomasz Wlosok, has a great screen presence and there is something about him that does draw the audience to him. But his character is very stoic and rather than this being intriguing, it just feels bland. As the film goes on, it is hard to sympathise or empathise with anything that happens to Kuba, especially when his own reactions to everything are so underplayed. At one point, Kuba takes a beating which he merely shrugs off. Kuba’s indifference soon becomes the audience’s indifference too.
The introduction of a love interest does not help matters. In Diablo: The Ultimate Race’s continuing tradition of being generic in every way, Kuba’s love interest Ewa (Karolina Szymczak) is of course someone that he is told to stay away from, someone who he will have to risk everything to be with etc. Ewa is also the only female character of note. The other women of Diablo barely have ten lines between them – this is not a film for strong female characters.
Every character is a cookie cutter version of the genre, from the good guys to the bad guys and everyone in between. This means that almost everyone is pretty forgettable; if you can recall more than two of the character’s names by the time that the credits roll then you have done well. Unfortunately, this also plays into the film’s predictability. There is nothing here that will surprise the audience, there are no twists or moments of shock. The plot is paper thin and is often in danger of disappearing altogether.
With that all being said, Diablo: The Ultimate Race does deserve recognition for being the first Polish film of its ilk. There are some great racing sequences in this film that would not look out of place in a much bigger blockbuster film and these scenes do provide thrills for the audience. These scenes have been choreographed well and are worthy of praise.
Diablo: The Ultimate Race also boasts some promising cinematography and there are some stand out shots. In one scene, Kuba sits at the wheel of his car. The light spills across his face and all we see is his eyes lit with determination. Along with the racing sequences, this does give Diablo: The Ultimate Race some visual appeal.
Fans of this adrenaline charged genre may well find that there is more than enough in Diablo: The Ultimate Race to appeal to them. If you like your action films with car races, criminal gangs and a soundtrack full of banging beats then you’ll likely find something here to enjoy.
But for me, Diablo is a dud. A mid-credits stinger obviously looks to set up a sequel. I for one will not be watching it.
Occasionally interesting in its visuals
Tomasz Wlosok has a great screen presence
Noteworthy choreographing of its racing sequences
Cookie cutter characters are instantly forgettable
Not a shred of originality to be found