How to steal 2 million
ONE can imagine that those familiar with the streets of downtown urban South African do not have to stretch the imagination much to get an idea of what life was like in the wild west. The bad lands of the ‘other’ side of the big guava have the most gripping stories to tell. They have indeed been told, most notably through film. With that said, one would have to ask themselves why tell the narrative of the rough streets of Mzansi again?
How To Steal 2 Million tells the story of a badass ex-con, known simply as Jack (Menzi Ngubane), who attempts to make an honest life for himself after leaving prison. Jack is a certified crook without a single good bone in his body. He has been betrayed by a close friend, deserted by his lover and forgotten by the world. He soon finds himself meeting with Twala (Rapulana Seiphemo), a partner in crime who left him for dead after their last ‘job’ went wrong. Twala appeals to Jack’s greed and insecurity and convinces him to do one last ‘job’. The bounty? Two Million Rand. Realising that his past will always compromise his best efforts, Jack accepts Twala’s proposition, resolving that it would just be for capital to explore business ventures. There is one sick twist though: The target is Twala’s own father (John Kani). What follows is a game of double and triple crossing found only in the most acclaimed mob flicks.
Instead of old flames dying hard, Jack quickly finds a new love interest in a sexy, street smart swindler named Olive (Terry Phetho). Loyalties are tested and everyone has a plot to screw everyone else over for the millions. Not much space is given to accommodate morals or life lessons, rather a grim narrative of the extent some are will to go to for material wealth.
Charlie Vundla got some of the finest actors in the country today for this film. As it would stand, that is pretty much where the highlight of the film begins and ends. Menzi and Rapulana’s on film chemistry is quite intense. Unfortunately this is not quite enough to compensate for 84 minutes dark drama and senseless killings. Other that the old cliché mafia line, the script doesn’t offer much depth for the talented cast to play with. Lines like “I’m serious as a heart attack” are enjoyable but come off quite awkward in a local context. This is quite bothersome considering that Olive was the first role from Terry that I enjoyed in a long time. John Kani was sorely underutilised in what could have been a brilliant film.
This film is indeed competent in that it has its fair touches of human drama and dark humour. Unfortunately the storyline plot grounds the film to the point where it cannot transcend to the brilliance it could have realised. Gang flick junkies should enjoy this film, but are advised not to expect a clinical supersession of what has already been done in the past.