Monday, August 29, 2022

Rescue (2022) - Combating the Darkness of Human Trafficking

Rescue is an independent film that took on a big challenge - it tells a story about a series topic but does it through being both a pure martial arts-based action film and a family drama, all at the same time. These genres usually do not easily fit together, but it quickly becomes clear that Rescue is not an ordinary indie film.

The movie opens up with Jake, a regular family man, going about his business. From the neighborhood to the office work, Jake leads an everyday life. His colleagues might not be the most effective workers and his daughter might caution him to avoid drinking too much, but overall, he is quintessential of normal life in the US. The same goes for his daughter Leah (played by Alexa Lohman), a teenager, who is still struggling with the loss of her mom and sister to an accident only a year ago. While Jake might be somewhat better at hiding it, his daughter has a much harder time coming to terms with their family tragedy. But, despite the same loss, both Leah and Jake are trying to go on with their lives.

The cinematography of the film showcases the same overall feel. The bright colors of a clear sky and sunny exteriors present a feeling of settled life, but a world of shadows lies just below the surface. That world emerges when Leah is suddenly kidnapped from a public place without any warning. Here, the film kicks into a whole new gear. While we quickly learn that Jake is a skilled martial artist, the moment his daughter is under threat changes everything. From a regular dad with his personal struggles, Jake turns into a man on a mission - to get his daughter back no matter what. With the help of a tech-savvy friend, he begins his hunt, while the human traffickers who got Leah have no clue what is coming for them.

Rescue manages to pull together a range of elements into a film that works both as an action movie and a family drama. Jason Lohman (who also plays the character of Jake) and Ted Tanaka co-directed the film and did a good job of balancing its two main elements. On top of that, a range of supporting characters also gives the film a lot of traction and flavor, from Jake's co-workers to a wide array of hardened criminals (all of whom come with their defined personalities). Through this interplay of two different genres, the film gradually builds into a powerful finish. There, the film boils down to a dramatic and action-packed finale, but still keeps the sense of ultimately being a movie about a father and a daughter.

By mixing a great cast and two demanding film genres, Rescue manages to turn itself into a powerful independent film about the dangers, toll, and impact of human trafficking. Find out more about the film on its official website as well as its Facebook fan page and see it for yourself!

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Two Paragraph Review: Black Crab (2022)

There's a simple and very unique premise behind the Black Crab script. It goes like this: imagine a war action movie, only on ice skates. That might sound dumb, but somehow, the film's plot manages to find its sea legs (pun intended). It is set in an undefined post-apocalyptic Nordic state, where a group of soldiers has to deliver a powerful weapon behind enemy lines using frozen waters around it.

The Director of the film, Adam Berg, got his first shot at a feature-length movie with Black Crab. He did a commendable job, just like his leading lady, the very talented Noomi Rapace. But, there's something off with the film as well, akin to some form of stable, but still shoddily made hut. The ice skate gimmick grows old eventually. At the same time, there is hardly a way to connect with the characters and the ending ultimately fails to change any of that. That is why the same shoddy hut, like the film, doesn't fold immediately, but overall, ends up being a very forgettable sight.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Rescue (2022) - Gripping Indie Action Drama

The scourge of human trafficking is a growing problem of the modern world. In fact, this horrifying practice is becoming more and more widespread and seemingly ever-present, even in countries like the US. Rescue is an indie action film that aims to tackle the same issue. It manages to do it in a very exciting and entertaining manner, but still showcases a very serious issue at the same time.

The film, directed by Jason Lohman and Ted Tanaka, showcases an ordinary US family, but one that experienced a huge tragedy. Jake recently lost his wife and older daughter to an accident. As he and his younger daughter Leah try to come to grips with this, Leah is kidnapped in broad daylight and from a public park. The intent of her kidnappers is to sell her to a drug cartel and Jake is the only thing that can stop Leah slipping away forever.

As the trailer shows, Rescue mixes real-life gripping emotions with some dynamic action sequences. Jake, played by Jason Lohman, has experience in martial arts and a burning determination to save his daughter. The martial art angle includes fight scenes, which is always impressive to see in an indie film, especially one that can pull these off - Rescue managed to do just that. Another big and interesting twist is the fact that Leah is played by Alexa Lohman, Jason's actual daughter. This gives the film a whole new type of dynamic and it really shows in the final result.

Thanks to this, it is no wonder that the film generated a lot of interest at the film festival circuit. So far it won six awards and one honorable mention, but it is certain that it will not stop there. Instead, new awards are likely incoming for it in the coming months. If you're interested in learning more about the film and the dark but important topic it covers, check out its official website as well as its Facebook fan page right now! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Two Paragraph Review: The Black Phone (2021)

There is a shocking degree of savagery taking place in The Black Phone, which the film's creator treated with the utmost dignity and understanding. No, it's not the violence that a serial killer directs towards his victims, but the violence that teenagers experienced on a daily basis in the 1970s US. It was not heroic or poignant, nor was it sensible and something that helped their coming-of-age process. It was just bloody and senseless, as they fought each other and their parents simply beat them.

Here is where the key center of mass of The Black Phone lies. It is a tale of bullying and suffering but told through a lens of a spectacular serial killer tale. It has ghosts and it has a protagonist that refuses to quit, but it's about a generation that took its beatings in silence and helplessness. It is about the same generation, now in its middle age phase, that will soon run the world and the pains that they undoubtedly still carry inside of them. That makes The Black Phone a rare and very touching piece of cinema, even though it is very hard to watch.