By: John M Jerva
REVIEW: TRANSIT 17
STARRING: Guy Bleyaert, Zara Phythian, Lee Charles, Kimberly Stahl, Daniel Pala and Silvio Simac
WRITTEN, PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY: Guy Bleyaert
Official Synopsis: After Europe is hit with a virus, which infected 60 million people, General Ratzinger (Jean-Paul Van der Velde) and his military aim to control the survivors hidden in secret outputs known as “transits.” Lead by the Commander (Silvio Simac), his “sniffers” continue to look for those who refuse to be confined, while insurgents known as the Free Fighters, led by Vanguard (Christophe VanZandycke), aim to evade and destroy this oppressive military which, instead of looking for a cure, continues to kill the infected as they grow in numbers.
Meanwhile, a separate Resistance team composed of Tex (Guy Bleyaert), Eve (Zara Phythian), Brad (Lee Charles), Deena (Kimberly Stahl) and Daniel (Daniel Pala) sets out on a secret operation to find Jen (Maria Melikidze), a 15-year old girl who was infected with the virus but survived. She may be the only hope for a cure, which causes The Free Fighters and the Resistance join together. They will stop at nothing until she is safe and the cure to save mankind is discovered.
THE REVIEW: I have to admit that I’m a fan of the Zombie action genre as the RESIDENT EVIL films are proudly displayed in my collection as well as other films like the recently released REDCON-1. There’s something about the hopeless situation of seeing a film’s heroic team of protagonists trying to survive against constant attacks from the undead that really kicks the drama into high gear. Plus it also allows for many exciting action set pieces as hordes of zombies are gunned down in a hail of immense firepower.
With that in mind, I was rather excited to finally get the chance to see TRANSIT 17 which comes from Director, writer and producer Guy Bleyaert who also stars as the main lead Tex. This film has been in development and production for quite a while and just like many indie films it takes sometime for the finished product to reach the masses. Sometimes finally seeing the film doesn’t live up to expectations and while this film doesn’t offer anything new to the genre, it definitely kicks up some much needed carnage for a Saturday night viewing.
In TRANSIT 17, we have the standard plot of a world ravaged by a zombie virus that has decimated almost ball of the Earth’s inhabitants. This time it’s Europe where the action takes place as a ruthless military is doing its best to control those who are left. It seems that the survivors have pigeonholed themselves into zones of sanctuary known as Transits. It is here that a group that call themselves The Sniffers led by their ruthless Commander (Silvio Simac) set out to crush those who are in hiding as the military looks to control what is left of the world. Unfortunately, it looks as if they are not concerned with finding a cure.
It is here that we are introduced to the Resistsnce led by Tex (Bleyaert) and his team which consists of Eve (Phythian), Brad (Charles), Deena (Stahl), and Daniel (Pala) who have discovered that there is a special girl out there that might be the answer to saving mankind. It seems that she was bitten by a zombie at one point and instead of turning the round is healing and now this team of courageous fighters must risk it all to get her to safety. Of course, things go awry and the that is where the fun comes on.
The team sets out in a massive rig affectionately called The Pig and as they start out, the vehicle breaks down and it only goes downhill from there. I don’t get into spoilers but not everyone survives the mission and it’s best not to make friends with anyone as they don’t stick around.
The action is there although there is a lot of downtime to speak of and for me there needs to be more of a sense if urgency but these are minor infractions and when the action does kick in, it’s worth the wait and will satisfy those looking to put down their remote controls and cease flicking through channels. My only complaint in that area is that the film needs more WOW moments in the middle. The plot is similar to the aforementioned REDCON-1 like I said with the group of do-gooders once again searching for patient zero who can save us all and the ruthless military who are in it for their own gains but who cares because it’s all about the action and carnage when it is all said and done.
The cast do an admirable job with what they have and the standouts, for me at least, were Lee Charles and Zara Phythian who get the opportunity to execute some pretty bad ass skills. Phythian especially is a great on screen fighter and she looks in total control when it comes to the action and executing the lethal moves required of her. The girl is simply bad ass on all levels. Simac doesn’t do a whole lot but he does get the opportunity to show off as well and his fisticuffs with Charles was hard core.
The last 15 minutes or so is without a doubt the best part of the movie when the excitement kicks into high gear and the tension reaches a fever pitch. Bleyaert wears many hats as director, writer, producer and star for this film and I have to commend him for this ambitious project which was truly a labor of love for him. As Tex, he brings a sincere and genuine sense of humanity to his role and gets to crank up some Commando style action as well.
I also have to mention that the scope of the film was pretty broad for a smaller film like this and the scenery, although dismal, was well done and added to the bleakness of the plot and the characters who are forced o live in a barbaric world like this.
All in all, TRANSIT 17 doesn’t bring anything new to the zombie-action genre but then again, I wasn’t expecting it to but it kept my interest and the action, which is the most important part I think we all can say, was done just right to warrant more viewings from this action lover. I can’t wait to see Phythian rock the action in her upcoming film TRIBAL where she will be front and center as this film only offered a glimpse of what the lady can do in the realm of action.
I strongly suggest checking out the movie when it hits next week on October 22nd on Digital and VOD followed by its December 17th release on DVD. Those involved put a lot of effort into it and the finished product is well worth your time. TRANSIT 17 certainly serves up the appropriate amount of action for a Saturday night viewing!
VERDICT: 3.5 Out Of 5 Stars
About The Author: John M Jerva is the owner and editor-in-chief of Action-Flix.com and is a DIE HARD fan of everyhting Action! From the glorious past to the thrilling future, John lives and breathes action!