Thursday, July 30, 2015

FUTURE JUSTICE (2014)

FUTURE JUSTICE (2014) 

Label: Scorpio Film Releasing Region Code: Region-FREE 
Duration: 83 Minutes
Rating: Unrated 
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 
Director: Richard Griffin
Cast: Nat Sylva, Steven O'Broin, Aaron Andrade, Anna Rizzo, Dan Mauro, Johnny Sederquist, Tiffany Lee Ferris
Richard Griffin must be one of the most prolific makers of low-budget b-movie genre pictures out there today, averaging about three finished feature and short films a year. His latest movie Future Justice (2014)  is a tasty no-budget riff on John Carpenter's Escape from New York, and stars Nat Sylva (Murder University) as the bad ass anti-hero Python Dallas, a dangerous insurrectionist who at the start of the film is imprisoned on Saturn's moon of Titan. He's in the process of being transported back to Earth to answer for his crimes, but what exactly those crimes are exactly is a bit of mystery throughout the movie, we have numerous references to an incident that happened in Baltimore that ended with a high body count, but it keeps a bit of mystery about it. 

En route to Earth Python is interrogated by Major Uxbridge (Aaron Andrade) who clearly has contempt for the war criminal, though the tougher he gets the more sarcastic Python becomes, which only further enrages the Major. Approaching Earth the crew are unable to establish radio contact with anyone back at the base command, it soon becomes apparent that the Earth has fallen victim to some apocalyptic nuclear event, the cities lay in ruin and the few survivors left alive scrap over food and scramble for shelter. 

Arriving on the Earth Python is coerced into joining the crew on the surface on a mission to search for survivors. Eventually they find a small group who scientist and various survivors who have banded together and are holed-up in the basement of a building. Opposition arrives in the form of a motley crew of post-nuke pirates headed by baddie Gazebo (Steven O’Broin), a sneering Southern-fried menace who leads a band of redneck outlaws armed with lasers and explosive-tipped crossbow darts. 

Adding to the menace is the threat of a tunnel dwelling mutant-human who oozes irradiated goo, the creature appears from time to time to claim a victim. 

Richard Griffin is channelling the 80s sci-fi action films of his and our youth and the result is a ton of cheap b-movie fun anchored by the fun performances of Nathaniel Sylva, obviously channeling his inner Snake Plisken, and baddie Steven O’Broin, both do a fantastic job in their roles, neither of which requires much depth but it makes for fun action-movie caricatures . 

The special effects of the movie by John C. Dusek are wonderfully cheesy and pretty dated - which is keeping within the Scorpio Film Releasing aesthetic we've come to know and love 'em for through the years. The opening title credit sequence is fantastic, the retro sci-fi font and the accompanying score does a bang-up job of channeling vintage 80s science fiction with plenty of Carpenter's Escape from New York with maybe a little Richard Band thrown into the mix, kudos to Daniel Hildreth for the awesome score, it adds a lot of texture to the movie. 

The opening scenes in outer space are early 90s computer graphics type stuff that might illicit a chuckle, and that's not unfair, its part of the charm of the production, and I think both a result of necessity and design - one of the opening scenes of Python encased in ice -- or crinkled plastic wrap more precisely, made me laugh, it might just be the worse effect of the film, but I still loved it. The command center of the ship is a tight and cramped space, which is straight out of John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon's seminal low-budget science fiction student film Dark Star (1974), a film which surely must have been an inspiration for Griffin.

Special Features:
- Commentary Track with Director, Producer, Cast and Crew
- Short Film 'Mutants of the Apocalypse' (7 Mins)
- Trailer ( 3 Mins) 

A post-apocalyptic science fiction movie is pretty damn difficult to do on what amounts to a shoe-string budget, and this is proof of how challenging it can be. Sure, it has a lot of warts on the surface but I loved the concept and the spirit of the execution, it's hard to convey a nuclear wasteland when your back lot is green with vegetation, but they make a real go for it anyway, and the end result is a shit ton of retro-80s sci-fi apocalypse fun. 2.5/5

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