'Brock Bledsoe: Future Hero' review: A post-apocalypse action spoof which exposes the silliness of overused tropes
'Brock Bledsoe: Future Hero' is a short but fun ride that does an applaudable job of exposing some highly overused tropes in the genre
As far as post-apocalyptic movies go, George Miller's 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar,' Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner 2049,' Pixar's 'Wall-E,' and the Terminator franchise have been the trendsetters, premiering to critical acclaim and showing the industry how it's done. However, for every such movie, we have a 'Day of the Dead: Bloodline' or 'Oceans Rising,' which fall prey to overused tropes and derivative stories that have been seen time and again.
Amongst these overused tropes are those that involve overly-emotional scenes that follow the death of a significant character. Yes, the death is of relevance and deserving attention but carving out a significant chunk of the running time to address something that will hardly carry any relevance as the story progresses — except to provide a sort of emotional foil to the survivors to egg them forward — is, these days, a big a no-no. However, this doesn't seem to have discouraged directors from treading down this tried and tested path, with the cheap and lazy method of adding character depth still very much prevalent.
'Brock Bledsoe: Future Hero' is a post-apocalyptic spoof which is written, directed, and produced by veteran actor Matthew Ellis, and will premiere at this month's prestigious Dances with Films festival being held at the TCL Chinese Theatres in Los Angeles.
Ian G Lockhart portrays the titular role of Brock Bledsoe, a hero who is now on his last breaths. Beleaguered co-star Bella (Lexie Contursi), exasperated director Ellis (Matthew Ellis), and an exhausted crew want to wrap up the shoot for the day and go out for a martini. But Bledsoe decides he needs to provide an artistic spin and a final flourish to his impending death, and goes about it with what he feels is the performance of his lifetime; much to the ire of everyone on the sets.
'Brock Bledsoe: Future Hero' features two quintessentially stereotypical characters in leading roles — Brock Bledsoe as the macho He-Man-type who refuses to die and Bella as the grief-stricken opposite number who has to express her despair in the loudest and in-your-face manner possible.
It attempts to poke fun at the common themes prevalent in the genre and does so reasonably well in crossing out almost every single one in the prototypical checklist — both on the screen and off it — in its brief 11-minute running time.
On the screen, is there a hero giving an impassioned and rising speech to motivate the masses? Check; except there is no crowd and the speech is comedically and anti-climatically cut short after he's shot through the chest by an invisible antagonist. The heroine crying her eyes out over his sudden and unexpected death? Check; except this heroine is growing increasingly frustrated at said hero's refusal to die.
Off the screen, is there creatively-bankrupt direction wherein there are is a constant, infuriating, and unnecessary switch between close-up shots of both hero and heroine? Check; The rising crescendo in the background music score as the hero meets his inevitable end? Check; Use of industrial jargon such as 'method' and 'technique' in a bid to improve the emotional impact of the scene? Check; Possibilities of eking out half-baked sequels without any consideration for the success of its predecessor? Check.
Lockhart manages to portray the overexcited and childlike Bledsoe, a weird sort of acting purist, commendably, though there are parts that felt grossly overacted; but because it is a parody, we may never know whether this was done on purpose; it even reaches a point where Ellis, who does well as the frustrated director, sarcastically quips that Bledsoe must think he's Russian theatre practitioner Konstantin Stanislavski. Lexie holds her own as well, coming to the fore in an altogether surprising conclusion.
Of the supporting cast, Jarrett Worley's Boom Op was easily the most noticeable, and in my personal opinion, the funniest of the lot. The jock persona and the ironic eyepatch ensured that his brief appearances provided the audience with some genuine laughs.
'Brock Bledsoe: Future Hero' does well in laying bare the ridiculousness of some of the post-apocalyptic thrillers we see today with some crude humor that does make you chuckle, though a touch of nuance would undoubtedly have gone a long way in doing the same in a less obvious manner.