George Amponsah (director)
09 February 2024 (released)
08 February 2024
Many if not most cities in the UK will have had some experience of scooter gangs targeting mobile phone users, snatching them away mid sentence, the victim left shaken and bewildered.
Gassed Up takes this crime up a number of levels. Its very well planned with links in to organised crime whose leader manipulates the gang’s greed to get them to take more risks.
That is the basic plot after an opening sequence that introduces the viewers to the gang, their boss, their family and social lives. The focus soon settles on Ash (Stephen Odubola) living with his younger sister and drug addicted mother. His involvement with the gang does have a ring of just-for-kicks but more importantly to raise enough money to get her into rehab.
However complications within the gang lead to a member being thrown out and financial issues at a higher-level mean that the gang are forced to take on risky jewel heists.
Gassed Up shares some similarities with last year’s French film Rodeo that dealt the themes of urban poverty and criminality as a way out or just survival. In Rodeo the protagonists rode motorbikes, in Gassed Up its scooters. The former reeked of petrol fumes with riders on a deathwish, the latter at times looks like high jinks on mopeds, though there is a fatality.
As superficial as that may appear it highlights one of the problems with Gassed Up in that it lacks intensity both in the execution and storyline.
There’s not much here that is original, which isn’t a problem as such, there’s just a weariness about it all. The gang all have nicknames, there’s the mandatory unstable one who gets thrown out, and an internal bust-up. There’s some background to provide an understanding of why the characters are doing what they do, and the social issues presented are genuinely depressing.
Director George Amponsah, and writers Archie Maddocks and Taz Skylar (who plays Dubz in the film) provide some insight into the daily existence, aspirations and social lives of the protagonists that might hitherto be unknown to the casual viewer.
Gassed Up will be in UK cinemas from 9 February 2024.