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Hijack Stories Review

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In Johannesburg, Sox, a young black actor, leaves his white girlfriend and comfortable middle-class existence behind, as he goes back to Soweto to live among township criminals so he can get a part in a TV gangsta show and 'play it for real'.

★★★★★

Anything seems fair game for small screen entertainment, and recent films such as 15 Minutes and Showtime have shown the blurred lines between reality TV and real crime. However, the latest from the director of Mapantsula flips the usual plot - an actor shadows the beat of a hardboiled cop - instead taking the more intriguing angle of having the thespian tag along with a ghetto gang boss. While the naive Sox Moraka's transformation is interesting, if admittedly routine, Schmitz's film falls down because of its lack of originality.

Sox idolises Wesley Snipes, yet disappointingly, there is little here which would be out of place in a Snipes action vehicle; Hijack Stories is devoid of anything which truly defines it as a South African film. While characters such as Fly, brilliantly played by the diminutive Percy Matsemala, occasionally mention apartheid and Jo'burg social division, that this is Soweto and not any other ghetto, ultimately seems irrelevant.

Despite an intriguing plot idea, Hijack Stories ends up being little more than a limp copy of the Hollywood thrillers it's trying so hard to eclipse.

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