Usually when things go wrong on holiday, it’s because your flight
was cancelled or the luxurious five-star resort you were promised in the
brochure turns out to be a building site. Travellers sees four friends
confronting horrors greater than those of a budget airline as they
embark upon a motorcycle break in the country and things take a turn for
the worse when they anger a group of Irish nomads.
After stumbling into a pub where they’re greeted with all the joy and
cheer of the locals from An American Werewolf In London, they ask a
farmer (Boorman) if they can spend the night on his land. Hiking
into the countryside, they pitch up, only for one of their group to
deface a nearby caravan. Caught in the act by the owners, three of them
take to their heels into the woods while one tries to talk it out.
Here the film divides into two halves. In one, the three who
scarpered are pursued through the forest by shotgun and knife-wielding
thugs – a cat and mouse chase sequence punctuated by moments of gratuitous gore and paper-thin characterisation.
The other follows Alex, the one left behind, now taken hostage and
tied up in the caravan as he begins a sketchily defined relationship
with a young girl that attempts to show the more compassionate side of
The dialogue has all the subtlety of a size nine to the face
(Charley Boorman actually manages to deliver the line “The dread of evil
is a much more forcible action” without bursting into fits of
hysterical laughter) and characters espouse their beliefs in
conversations so contrived, it’s almost as if they’ve stepped out of a
commercial. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine each character
with a Top Trump style list of their attributes. “Andy. Likes:
violence, machetes. Dislikes: Travellers, reasoned argument.”
To its credit, Travellers does have one or two well-photographed images but
it’s a shame that this is ruined by some of the worst quality footage
since Trash Humpers, the grainy aspect of the film stock could easily be
mistaken for a pirated VHS tape. There are also some
well-choreographed bare-fisted boxing scenes but these are small
consolation to a film so obviously characterised and shallow.
It all winds up with a particularly unsatisfying conclusion and a
cringe worthy narrated epilogue which implies that you can’t escape the
fate of your blood – apparently all it takes is for someone with a
Traveller background to be punched in the face and he’ll regress to a
life of bare-knuckle brawling, a deplorably simplistic moral even in a film so mediocre.