Road To Paloma is a fugitive-on-the-run story. A road flick that zooms across the sun-dappled landscapes of the American West. And a slow-paced pseudo-commentary on the injustices committed against Native Americans by white men. It is also, to date, the most Jason Momoa movie in the history of motion pictures.
Road to Paloma (Duong Den Paloma) stars Momoa . The exotically handsome mountain of an actor who played Khal Drogo on HBO’s Game Of Thrones, and will reportedly become Aquaman in Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Road To Paloma also was co-written by Jason Momoa, co-produced by Jason Momoa, and directed by Jason Momoa. And it features scene after scene in which Jason Momoa mounts motorcycles, wears shirts that tend to lack sleeves, and occasionally stares off meaningfully into the lavender twilight of a desert sunset.
The whole action film (phim hanh dong 2021) gives off the pungent, testosterone-heavy musk of a vanity project. But for Momoa. Road To Paloma may be less about pure vanity. And more about the artist formerly known as Conan The Barbarian 2.0 attempting to prove he’s capable of more serious, contemplative work than Hollywood tends to offer muscled, vaguely Dwayne Johnson-esque guys like himself. That’s an admirable goal, but the film that resulted doesn’t live up to his blatantly lofty, lyrical ambitions.
Momoa does capture some scenes of genuine warmth and beauty that suggest he has the potential to develop a filmmaker’s eye for visual poetry; one moment in particular—in which a visit with Mojave friends and relatives leads to a picturesque evening illuminated by sparklers in the hands of young children—is particularly lovely. Though, he lets his desire to create atmosphere with a capital “A” guide him to the point of excess. And he produces shots drenched in too much shadow. The images of a blazing sun that overpower the frame with lens flares. As a director, he reaches too far, too often, betraying just how much he wants to be take seriously. He’s much better off when he dials things down and gets out of his own way. But in a movie that’s all Momoa, all the time, apparently that’s next to impossible.