Monday, January 16, 2023

BECKY (2020) (Ronin Flix Special Edition Blu-ray Review)

BECKY (2020) 
Special Edition Blu-ray 

Label: Ronin Flix
Rating: R
Region Code: A
Duration: 93 Minutes 
Video:  1080p HD Widescreen (2.39:1)
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround and 2.0 Stereo with Optional English Subtitles 
Director: Jonathan Millet & Cary Murnion
Cast: Lulu Wilson, Joel McHale, Kevin James, Kevin James, 
Amanda Brugel, Robert Maillet, Ryan McDonald, James McDougall

From the directors of Cooties (2014) comes Becky (2020), wherein sullen, angst-filled teen Becky (Lulu Wilson. The Haunting of Hill House) is taken to a weekend getaway to a family lake house by her father Jeff (Joel McHale, TV's Community, Stargirl) in an effort to try to reconnect. Becky's had a tough go at since her mother passed a few years earlier from cancer, she's taken her grief out on the world. The trip gets off to a rocky start when she realizes her father has invited his girlfriend Kayla (Amanda Brugel, Jason X) and her young son Ty (Isaiah Rockcliffe, Random Acts of Violence) for the weekend. Things get even worse over dinner when Jeff announces that he will be marrying Kayla, the still-wounded Becky runs off with her loyal cane corso Diego to vent her frustration inside a nearby tree fort.

While she is away from the house a man named Dominick (Kevin James, Paul Blart: Mall Cop) arrives under false pretenses, eventually revealing himself to be a neo-Nazi who has escaped custody while being transported, along with a trio of henchmen; the gigantic “Apex” (Robert Maillet, TV's The Strain), and fuck-ups Hammond (James McDougall, 8-Bit Christmas), and Cole (Ryan McDonald, TV's Fringe). What they're after is a mysterious key that was hidden away in the basement of the lake house. It's never explained what that key opens, but Becky has it, the Nazi's want it, and they're willing to kill for it - and Becky's willing to kill them if anything should happen to her dad. 

When the shit hits the fan Becky dons an knit animal-eared beanie cap and turns her teen-angst into teen bad-assdom, improvising weapons in a very Home Alone sort of way and making life a living hell for the Nazis, taunting them via a walkie-talkie Die Hard style. There's a surprising amount of gore in this teen-avenger flick, young Becky turns into a teen killing machine - stabbing a Nazi through the necks with the sharp end of a broken ruler, improvising trip wires and boards with nails, churning guts with an outboard motor, there's a gruesome eye-trauma followed by an even more nasty kitchen surgery, and she quite literally mows down the baddies at one point. Throwing common sense and probability out the window I had a blast watching Lulu mead out the bloody punishment, complete with some effective old school practical effects with copious amounts of blood and bits. 

The script doesn't allow for much character development here, it hints at things that could have been expanded upon but it keeps it lean and mean for the most part, which means that dad's girlfriend and young son don't get a whole lot to do. McHale gets a bit more to chew on but is cut short, and while there's a lot of subtext here but it stays surface level for the most part, and I was fine with that, I just wanted to see this teen fuck shit up. Wilson as the teen-avenger Lulu is the highlight from start to finish, her turn from sullen teen to homicidal and mean is delightful, venting her repressed anger with animalistic grunts and screams, carrying out bloody acts of violence against the men who hurt her father is the stuff of exploitation catnip, she's terrific. Seeing funny-man Kevin James with a huge Swastika tatooed on the back of his bald head was quite a WTF moment, you don't expect it from him; and later he pulls of his shirt revealing not just a back full of tattoos but a chest as well, you have to admire him going out on a limb like that. His bearded menace look is pretty convincing, but I think the actual performance is less so, but he does decent work. The hulking Maillet as Apex is not only much more physically frightening, but his performance as the the murderous henchman with a change of heart is much more effective, I also appreciate how that subplot is resolved, it felt honest, and deserved. 
Reversible Artwork 

Audio/Video: Becky (2020) gets a special edition Blu-ray courtesy of Ronin Flix in 1080p HD widescreen (2.39:1). Shot on digital there's no photochemical blemishes, and the digital image look quite strong, a tad soft in spots, but with sharp detail and solid black levels. Audio comes by way of uncompressed English DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo or 5.1 surround. The track is clean, dynamic and dialogue is crisp. The electronic-synth score from Nima Fakhrara sound quite nice, as do soundtrack selection from Aesop Rock. 

Previously released on barebones DVD and Blu-ray in 2020 Ronin Flix step up the plate for a truly special special edition, kicking things off with a pair of brief Introductions by the co-directors Jonathan Millet & Cary Murnion, then a spirited Audio Commentary with star Lulu Wilson and screenwriters Ruckus and Lane Skye. We also get newly produced interviews with the cast and crew by way of the 41-min Two Heads are Better than One: Directing Becky with Jonathan Millet & Cary Murnion, the 14-min No Laughing Matter with Joel McHale, and the 14-min The Fight of her Life with Lulu Wilson. Disc extras are wrapped-up with a 4-min Fan Art Gallery and another 9-min Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery that offers some cool images of the gruesome practical special seen in the film. The fan art gallery is pretty cool too, lots of unique fan made artistry here. 

The single-disc release arrives in a clear keepcase with a Reversible Sleeve of Artwork, which features a new illustration by Tim Johnson, and one of the original movie posters. This limited edition release also includes a Limited Edition Slipcover with thew new illustration, and on the disc is fan artwork by Andrea Michel. 

Special Features: 
- Audio Commentary with star Lulu Wilson and screenwriters Ruckus and Lane Skye
- Introduction from co-director Jonathan Millet (20 sec) 
- Introduction from co-director Cary Murnion (13 sec) 
- Two Heads are Better than One: Directing Becky with Jonathan Millet & Cary Murnion (41 min) 
- No Laughing Matter with Joel McHale (14 min) 
- The Fight of her Life with Lulu Wilson (14 min) 
- Fan Art Gallery (4 min)  
- Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery (9 min) 

Screenshots from the Ronin Flix Blu-ray: