Jump The Gun Review

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The lives of six oddballs become entangled in post-apartheid South Africa.


Always fighting an uphill battle, Jump The Gun attempts to mine insights and humour from the shifting atmospheres in post-apartheid South Africa through the eyes of a mixed race group of low-lifes but, in short, it fails.

Set in Johannesburg, the action develops along two separate lines; the first - and more interesting - follows sparkie Clint (Newton) as he cruises the bars, eventually striking an unlikely relationship with druggie Minnie (Burgers) which is threatened when he learns she is a prostitute. The second sees vocalist Gugu (Cele) arrive in a tough township and become involved with crippled gangster Bazooka (Thulani Nyembe). Both strands intertwine as Bazooka learns Gugu has swindled his money, and Gugu seeks refuge with Minnie and Clint to escape vengeance from the angered crim.

Jump the gun is ultimately most hindered by a sluggish script, and the complicated story is made even more impenetrable by the frequent use of local slang. On the plus side: the exteriors are lensed with an attractive golden hue; Blair evokes the sense of a country in flux without ever resorting to political preaching and he draws decent performances from his cast. Yet, in a film built primarily around its characters, the fact that none of them provokes any empathy or affinity is pretty insurmountable.

While the film contains some entertaining moments - Clint attempting to buy a diamond ring during a hold-up, a comical shoot-out in an alley - for the most part it only highlights the potential drawbacks to the improv approach; scenes badly in need of extensive pruning and a meandering plotline told at funereal pace.