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I would really like someone to explain to me how The Avengers, a film as generic as they come, gets praised as one of the best films of all time whereas a film like this that pushes the boundaries of film and focuses on the human characters rather than a bunch of gorillas with powers gets so many reviews hating on it. I'm not one of those to go easy on a film because it has a low budget, I either like a film or I don't. And I really liked this one.
Our 4 superheroes are kidnapped and stripped of their powers by Jokeresque villain Rickshaw and forced through a series of 'games' designed to crush their spirits and kill them. Not only is this very entertaining, especially listening to Rickshaw's monologues which never get old, it also packs more emotion into its short 70 minute run time than The Avengers was able to pack in nearly 3 hours (if it isn't obvious already, I found The Avengers to be overrated though by no means bad). It's the sense of hopelessness and dread that maintains your attention and morbid curiosity as you come to realise that these games are played by Rickshaw's rules and aren't designed to be won. If what I've said here interests you in the slightest then I advise you watch this film.
The acting is generally very good with special mention needed to James Remar and Lucas Till who played their characters brilliantly. There were no real clichés as all of the characters felt like human people rather than superhuman stereotypes like you get in many superhero films. I would even go so far as to say this isn't really a superhero film, the world feels real and gritty and even the costumes look home-made. Clearly there was a very small budget for this film but it only shows in the occasional action scene in which there are no computer generated effects. For the most part it allows the film to maintain its very real gritty look but at times it does become noticeable. But given the constraints on this film, I believe it is forgivable and there are no film-breaking moments in my opinion.
It was a real shame this film was so short as I would loved to have explored the characters deeper but thankfully this also means the film doesn't outstay its welcome and it generally feels tight and well-paced. For this though there should certainly be a price drop but that is hardly a fault of the film.
I tip my hat to Jason Trost and look forward to seeing what else he can do with a larger budget and more time, I wish I could make movies like he can. The film is by no means perfect, but it captures a true humanity that many superhero films skip over (with the exception of Watchmen). If you don't need CGI and big explosions to have fun and appreciate small scale films with superb acting then see this film and you'll quickly be intrigued and drawn into this dark world full of pain, suffering and death.
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