The questionable choices of John Travolta continue with his latest exercise in VOD shlock with Trading Paint, a racecar drama that offers little in the way of drama or thrilling racing. While Trading Paint doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel like Speed Kills or Gotti, it’s still a woefully bland piece of familial drama set against the backdrop of a low rent racing circuit.
Sam (Travolta) is the patriarch of a racing family with his son Cam (Toby Sebastian) sitting behind the wheel as they carry out races on dirt tracks in Alabama. But Sam has lost the winning ways, and as defeats mount so do tensions between father and son. Eventually, Cam leaves his father’s racing team and joins with his father’s bitter rival Linsky (Michael Madsen). Sam works tirelessly to upgrade his race cars with the help of his good friend Stumpy (Kevin Dunn). It soon comes down to father versus son for the championship of this particular backwoods speedway.
The drama of Trading Paint just never amounts to much. The screenplay by Gary Gerani and Craig R. Welch doesn’t offer much insight into the world of racing as most of the characters speak in well-worn clichés. The cars of Trading Paint circle around the dirt track and never is director Karzan Kader able to craft any tension about the outcome of these competitions. There’s never a sense of speed to the big races and they devolve into unintentional comedy when the hackneyed commentary of unseen sportscasters chimes in.
As he has done in Speed Kills and Gotti, Travolta really seems to be using his deep dive into VOD shlock to examine paternal guilt. In all three of these woeful films, Travolta is a father who puts his son in harm’s way and has to deal with the fallout of various accidents and complications. The movie icon is obviously still processing his own grief and you just wish he could find more thoughtful, competent movies to explore this emotional component. However, Trading Paint is just a sputtering vehicle for Travolta’s continuing exploration of the themes of paternal grief.
There’s just nothing that could help Trading Paint be anything more than another late career dud starring John Travolta. Not even a budding romance between Travolta and country music star Shania Twain as Becca can liven up this bland, bland movie. Trading Paint is a low stakes, low octane drama running on empty from the get-go.
A low stakes, low octane drama starring John Travolta, Trading Paint features a competition between father and son on a backwoods racetrack that never becomes the least bit captivating.