Vs. is a surprisingly speedy drama which comes in, gets you emotional, shocks you with the rhymes the lead actor spits, and sends you on happy and satisfied.
|Screenplay By||Daniel Hayes, Ed Lilly|
|Genre(s)||Musical, Drama, Comedy|
|Good If You Like||Battle Rap
Watching Emotional Men Lash Out
|Isn’t For You If You||Don’t Like Battle Rap
Don’t Like Fast Paced Dramas
|Makayla (Mak)||Fola Evans-Akingbola|
|Slaughter||Adam “Shotty Horroh” Rooney|
|Miss-Quotes (Lauren)||Paige “Paigey Cakey” Meade|
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Vs. Plot Summary
17-year-old Adam has been bouncing from foster home to foster home since he was around 4. However, with 11 months until he turns 18, and ending up in the home of Fiona, Adam is nearing the end of his run. Mind you, not just in the foster care system but maybe being put in a more secure location due to his outburst. Making the introduction of Makayla, aka Mak, a girl he meets in an arcade, perfect timing.
Why? Well, she is one of two who host local battle raps in Southend. Something which becomes not only an outlet for Adam but also grows into a community for him. One which leads to him making friends, possibly meeting a nice girl in Katie, and also gives him the backing to face the abandonment by his mother Lisa. All while taking on multiple rappers, including one named Slaughter, who coerce him to learn lashing out will push people away more than bring them closer.
Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments
- If interested in watching more battle rap movies, there is the movie Bodied which came out in 2018.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- So was Adam getting with Katie in relation to her being Slaughter’s ex or nah?
It’s Going To Get You Emotional
Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting to get in my feelings over this movie. The reason why I say that is Adam’s whole situation feels so heavy that it makes it so in the hands of another talent it could feel heavy handed and like they are begging for sympathy. However, as we also saw in Sex Education, Swindells knows how to play someone who seems like an utter ass and dig out the heart of the character. Make it so that pain hits you in the chest and he lives up to the idea that perhaps there are no such things as villains but those who find social niceties foreign.
Two examples deal with Adam expecting rejection. The first time from Katie, when he thinks he disappointed her, and the other time when he flips out on Fiona and expects her to toss him away. In neither situation does this happen and while you won’t be bawling tears and curled into a ball, you will at least get teary eyed. If not have a Denzel in Glory tear come down your eyes.
Despite Adam’s Trauma, The Film Feels Speedy
One of the things I always fear with dramas is that in watching someone sob, flip out, vent, and all that, it’s going to slow the film down and feel like a cooling period. Vs. isn’t like that. When Swindells gets emotional about something, like when he confronts Lisa, it has a similar energy to his battle rapping but without the speed or slight comedic elements. Thus keeping you engaged throughout the movie so that whether it is Adam rapping and exposing people’s personal business, or us watching him deal with his own, you have little to no reason to take note of possible distractions.
On The Fence
It’s More About The Personal Attacks Than The Raps
With that said, if you came for the raps let me tell you they really ain’t all that. More so, it is the personal attacks Adam has on his opponents, especially one named Miss-Quotes, that will have your eyes blaring a bit. However, as for the flow, wordplay, and things like that? It’s good enough but not so good that you feel like bobbing your head and making a face like you smelled something nasty.
Wanting More Out Of Adam & Katie
Very minor thing: As noted in the “Question(s) Left Unanswered” section, it isn’t really clear why Adam might have chatted up Katie. Was it to get at Slaughter, maybe feelings were involved? Hard to say. Yet, considering the life Adam had and how nice she was to him, it does make you wish we got a solid answer as to what Adam’s intentions were.
Vs. Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
While the actual raps were honestly a bit weak, what you have to love is how deeply personal Adam’s story felt and how they found a way to have him lash out yet never lose your empathy. Which, I don’t know if that is to Swindells’ credit, Lilly’s, Hayes’, or a combination of the three, but call me amazed. And it is due to that amazement that this is receiving the positive label.