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First Look Review - American Rescue Squad

Satire of the superhero genre.


Review by Andy Comer

Directed by: Elliot Diviney

Starring: Tony D Czech, Douglas Sidney, KariAnn Christensen



"Sadly, it’s a mind melting experience that for the majority of its runtime doesn’t work on almost any level; then at the same time, you realize that if done just slightly differently, this could be a masterpiece of cinema."



American Rescue Squad begins with superhero The Taxpayer getting kidnapped. Then, when the government realizes they can do nothing at all without him, they take the advice of a janitor to reach out to retired super heroes Common Sense and Personal Responsibility to save the day. Go ahead and take a moment to let that sink in. Good to continue? Okay, this is a movie like I’ve never seen. It’s like a political metaphor, wrapped in a super hero movie, with a bit of musical song and dance sporadically sprinkled throughout. Sadly, it’s a mind melting experience that for the majority of its runtime doesn’t work on almost any level; then at the same time, you realize that if done just slightly differently, this could be a masterpiece of cinema.
I think the biggest problem here is the metaphor the filmmakers are trying to pull off. You see, the films super heroes aren’t your everyday heroes with conventional powers that we think of when we hear the words super hero. So fair warning before going into this super hero tale; Batman, Superman, Ironman, Spider-Man, Hulk or any other known super heroes are nowhere to be found. Not in the flesh, in dialog, and not even for spoof or parody. Instead the heroes that are fighting for the safety of the people are ridiculous metaphors to serve a political commentary on some of the United States most divided issues.
Now, even though it doesn’t work in this particular instance, that doesn’t mean that it could never work. Perhaps The Taxpayer, Birth Control, Personal Responsibility, and Common Sense are not the best names for the heroes of a story, but for the sake of getting through to the general audience as a whole, perhaps it is necessary. I am a believer that with a good story and actors, stupid names of characters mean little to nothing. The real issue here is that nothing that was put into the production of the movie was done to help the story's message. It was all to capitalize on the popularity of super heroes and musicals. On paper I’m sure it sounds like a grand slam, no-brainer, but effort still needs to be put in for anything to stick in the minds of the audience.
It all boils down to the simple fact that a dull story, about nonsensically stupid characters, spewing corny dialog, topped with not so great acting, will hinder any filmmakers’ vision. And like I said before, corny character names don’t matter when the story is solid, but when it’s not, like this one, perhaps naming characters Bad Dad, Donnie the Freeloader, The Bible Thumper, and ultimately naming the president Dick Panzy just adds wood to the fire that is burning away the seriousness these issues deserve. Ultimately, nothing ends up meshing and the message of the story gets lost because the audience figures that if the filmmakers didn’t take it seriously, why should they? And who can blame them?




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