“Night Train” is the miniaturized form of “Fast & Furious” (2009), where the plot revolved around drugs being transferred by cars. However, “Night Train” is a more personal take on the matter and highlights a mother, a pro driver, who enters the drug trafficking business so that she can afford her son’s meds. As expected, she has a female police officer looking for her whereabouts. Will the mother be able to take care of her son? Let’s find out.
‘Night Train’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
Holly McCord is a pro driver, her truck nicknamed “Night Train,” who works as staff at a production agency and barely makes ends meet. She has her son Shelby’s medical checkup bills due, along with other debts. Thus, she reaches out to black market medical dealer Renzo Romeo for her son’s meds at a much lower cost. Renzo delivers drugs to kingpin Maxwell in Vegas via planes. But when Agent Connelly hires Field Agent Jaylynne Jackson to curb Maxwell (cocaine trafficking), who has ventured his “black” way into medicine, thereby upsetting the people in American Big Pharma, Jackson seizes the planes. The only way for Renzo to transfer his drugs is by road. And Holly, desperate for her son’s meds, decides to be the delivery man, relying on her driving skills, her powerful diesel truck, and the dark of the night. Will Holly be able to pull off her new job? Or will she be intercepted by Jackson and sent to prison, leaving behind her ailing son?
Holly is a single mother whose son Shelby is suffering from a serious ailment. Being a pro driver, she makes ends meet by racing at night and by working as staff for a Hollywood production agency during the day. She has her best friend, Tommy, the mechanic, who helps her out. Holly is a daredevil who, like what Mack told Johnny Blaze in “Ghost Rider” (2007), has an angel looking after her. She survived a motorcycle crash wherein she was riding at over 180 miles per hour, receiving only cuts and bruises. Moreover, the fact that she decides to deliver Renzo’s drugs to Vegas despite knowing just how dangerous it can be and how it can affect her son’s life if she is sent to prison proves her confidence as well as bravery. She knows a lot about her truck and cars in general, being the daughter of a car enthusiast, and she puts her skills to use for the most important aspect of her life: her son. Being a single mother, she knows that she has to do what’s necessary for her child, so driving to Vegas is not just a show of confidence but also of her fierce motherhood. To stand face-to-face with Maxwell at his place in Vegas, deny his offer, and take the money he offers her as a bonus is a decision that could certainly have led to an unfavorable outcome that Renzo mentions later as well. However, the film doesn’t get to that point. If only we had a confrontation between Holly and Maxwell of some kind, Holly’s strong character would have been established more effectively. The film thus leaves it to us to figure out Holly’s character rather than exploring it for us. And we, for better or worse, do not spend much time doing that. Holly decides to leave the country and shift to Mexico for some time with her son to avoid meddling further in Maxwell’s affairs. This is when she is intercepted by Field Agent Jaylynne Jackson.
The best way to describe Jaylynne Jackson is that she has nothing to lose. A former US soldier, she once killed a family based on bad intelligence, and that has been eating her alive ever since. She suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for the same and spends her life living one day at a time. At her wit’s end, most of the time, Jackson doesn’t have time for trash talk and means business. However, there is another weak side to her that also results from the same incident, i.e., guilt. As Connelly tells her, it is her guilt that is her driving force. It is the only feeling she has inside her that keeps her from losing her sanity. However, how it affects her isn’t shown in the film; only that she is visibly shaken and hasn’t been able to recover from the trauma (thus her PTSD). Yet all this doesn’t sway her from her mission, as she cleverly finds out about the diesel trucks that are also used to transfer drugs. Then, during her conversation with Holly in a café, there is a constant energy exchange between the two as they try to test each other. This is where we see Jackson’s other side, which is her trying to get the better of her opponent. Perhaps this is her way to find out how strong her opponent is. Yet, as with Holly, the film provides us with a bleak view of Jackson’s character as well. Despite giving her character grave characteristics like PTSD and guilt along with boldness, the portrayal of these is utterly confusing. At one point, we are basically made to wonder if she has a potential split-personality disorder (although we are highballing here, it is befitting).
‘Night Train’ Ending Explained – Do Holly And Her Son Reach Mexico?
When Holly decides to take her son and escape to Mexico, Renzo joins them. He has feelings for her and doesn’t want her to be by herself. Also, he has sources in Mexico that will help her out with her son’s meds. However, just before they can cross the border, they come across Agent Jackson. Then something very interesting happens. We cannot say if this was a cheap way out for the creators or an intelligent one, but Holly is able to manipulate, if not acknowledge, Jackson by telling her that they are quite similar to each other. Holly and Jackson are trying to run from their past, Holly by giving her son a better life, and Jackson by looking for a purpose and perhaps atonement. Holly addresses Jackson’s atonement by saying that the innocent child that Jackson killed (as a part of the family in Baghdad due to bad intelligence) has returned in the form of Holly’s son, Shelby. Jackson gets on her knees, proving thereby that Holly’s spell has worked. Holly then gives her Connelly’s phone number as the first breadcrumb that will lead her to Maxwell. Jackson didn’t know that Connelly was involved with Maxwell, but now that she does, she will do what needs to be done. She then lets Holly, her son, and Renzo pass the border and reach Mexico. Renzo already has a new car waiting for them, one slower than Holly’s Night Train, and tells Holly that it is time they slow down a bit. In other words, Holly wouldn’t have to risk her life behind wheels for a living.
“Night Train” doesn’t really do justice to its title. If we had some glimpses of Holly’s past or maybe one or two more races, these would have established the title better. After all, she, and not her truck, is the Night Train. While we do get to see a happy ending, the film remains incomplete in the way it handles its main characters. We have to make do with what we are given, and that’s the end of it. A one-time watch and nothing more.
“Night Train” is a 2023 action thriller film directed by Shane Stanley.