Stars: Tony Todd, Steven Luke, Bates Wilder, Jordan McFadden, Gary Graham and Doug Jones
|This film was an official selection at the 10th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Phoenix in 2014. Here's an index to my reviews of 2014 films.|
The introduction sets the scene like a blitzkrieg, explaining that an alien invasion has been and gone, leaving the world in a sort of post-apocalyptic state. An evil despot has arisen in the dust left behind by the war, Gen Chizum by name, but he's countered by a mysterious child growing up as a harbinger of peace. The impression is that the battle of good and evil between them holds the fate of the world in the balance and we focus in on this battle in microcosm as two bounty hunters search for her in the general's stronghold. I particularly liked the little picture here. This is no sweeping epic of army versus army, it's a character driven tale of two wills against one, with a few interesting supporting characters. We only get the slightest glimpse of the aliens, all wrapped up in red armour, masks and attitude. This isn't about them, so we don't need countless man years of CGI; this worthwhile indie picture unfolds in the echo of that imaginary blockbuster's drift through the second run theatres into online streaming.
It's a refreshing ride for a while, though the size of Chizum's stronghold unfortunately highlights the lack of budget. The general is a huge man with a bald head and knotted beard, someone brutal but controlled enough to believably rise to this sort of position. He looks like he's going to be a cliché on legs, WWE's candidate for president, but he successfully avoids a hinted descent to the level of a live action action figure to remain a refreshing villain throughout. Bates Wilder is the actor, who I haven't seen play a part this substantial before; previously I've only caught him in smaller roles in top notch but very different films like Shutter Island and Hachi: A Dog's Tale. He's made a number of films since his first part as Loud Mouth Cop in Mystic River, but it's his stage background that has surely lent the structure to build character roles like this one. I hope the next time I see him on screen, it'll be in a lead role or, at least, one with enough time for him to flesh out his character the way he clearly can.