movie review of Powerplegic (2014) by Natalie and Frank DeGennaro ~Phillip Assenmacher of Assenmacher Productions and Creep Theater
Powerplegic (2014) by Natalie and Frank DeGennaro.I like this movie. It fit its target genre and audience. There is no nudity, just violence and a good story. A guy works with his girlfriend on a program to interface with a computer, by reading his brainwaves. He then gets beat up by a small gang of thugs with chips on their shoulders. He wins a civil lawsuit against their rich boy leader and is later trapped in a room with his dysfunctional family, the thugs, and his failed body. He evolves super extrasensory brain power to compensate for his lack of mobility. The story has an interesting plot twist, the device he designed to communicate with, drains or grounds his super powers, and the brat gang leader is smart enough to figure out his weakness. (Spoiler) Anyway the bad guy wins, then dies, and the hero looks like he is adopted by the bad guys father. Go figure.
I need some more Jujubes to go with this buttered popcorn, because it sputters and stalls in a couple of long scenes. The director uses narration over some of the slower parts. He should have used it more often, to make this a truly great cult classic film, but it is still a VERY GOOD cult film. I think my favorite scene is when Jeremy disappears from the wheelchair, and you don't know if he's gone in the computer, become invisible, or what, and neither does his enemy, Trent.
Shan Agish, as Jeremy Moore, played his character, beginning as a flawed teenager very well. As he "got smarter", he turned into a straight hero avatar, that had no such flaws. This works well with this film's style. His narration throughout the movie was as cheesy as it was supposed to be. Great job. Jessica Sharples, as Julia, Jeremy's girlfriend, was smart and pretty without having to fall out of her clothes. It was a hard to believe her fixing the watered down computer so quickly without seeing what she was doing. Does everybody just walk into everyone's house in New York without knocking? He could be downloading music in his room alone or something.
Now the technical side. The titles and end credits--too simple. Along with the CGI, Computer Graphic Imaging. Looked like it was shot in the 80's. I ought to know, I've been designing computer graphics since then. Loved the Atari, and Commodore 64. Its like watching "Wargames(1983)" with Matthew Broderick, but with only one CRT monitor. I would have used two or three LCD monitors, or iPad's or iPhones to connect to his headgear too. You see these opening credits just plain white with a tinge of blue on black screen, nothing special, But the music, wow. An electric baseline melody with a tremolo guitar lead its Dick Dale/The Cramps/Danny Ash and Bauhaus all rolled into one. The chorus screams "The Brain Is The Most Dangerous Thing" and shows that its written and performed by the man who wrote and produced the movie. AWESOME! The visual artistry of the movie is superb. It starts off black and white, with Jeremy remembering his wheelchair experience with meters and knobs behind him, and a single light to one side. A very Frankenstein's Monster look. Flashes of color show people happy then gruesome scenes of mangled people as he narrates his situation. Then the story fades into color and we're shown how awful his life is due to his scumbag bully father. The story is good, and believable. The filming is crisp. Outdoor scenes look very good with the exception the Newscaster, who is filmed without camera lights. The indoor lighting at his workshop cast shadows all over the actors faces giving them the black and white look of the opening pictures. Well done with good color continuity. The sound quality an excellent level across the movie, you could hear some overdubbing but they have the same background noise as the original scenes. The writing was great, kept me on my toes. Directing was very good, except for the scene showing his awakening powers of intellect by using a digital wristwatch and the climax scene with Margie Ferris as Cynthia Moore, Jeremy's mom, having her mouth duct taped shut, then it disappears, aaaannnnd then its back.
Salvatore Hodgson, as Tatum "The Brick" Moore, did a fantastic job at making you hate him. A bully when he has the upper hand and a greedy coward when he's under the gun. Kudos for the great stunt work for the whole cast, Salvatore, James Gill and Matt Ray. Dan Berkey, as Percy, father of Spec, portrayed a great villain in a great role. You wonder why he's not the gang leader, until you find out its all about the money. This guy just keeps coming back for more. George McCann as Spec, a thug with a disability. He doesn't play it hard enough to KNOW if his character is disabled, or if HE's disabled, making George an extremely effective actor. I also loved James Gill as Vinnie, Bart Shatto as Mr. Smith, well acted, bravo.
I would recommend this movie to all my friends at Creep Theater, and I would suggest you look for more great cult films to come from Natalie and Frank DeGennaro! This party is just getting started. ~Phillip Assenmacher
Copyright Powerplegic. All rights reserved.