I don’t like ripping into independent movies. I love to see non-studio films rise above the established adversities that come with DIY filmmaking. I want to see a film surpass its budgetary restrictions and rise to be something special, emotional, clever, genuine, or amazingly well acted. Hell, not even a majority of the big studio films I’ve seen this year have nailed more than two of those aforementioned traits at a time, so when an independent film checks off a majority of them, or even better, all of them, it’s a true cause to celebrate. Independent cinema is, in a lot of cases, the little engine that could. You cheer when a no-budget film climbs that proverbial hill and makes it to the other side. A lot of times when I review an independent film, I have to look beyond the flaws…and then there’s a film like Revenge of the Gweilo, where the film’s flaws punch you in the face like a boxing glove full of jagged rocks.
“This is the most fun I’ve had with a terrible movie in a long time!”
From a technical standpoint, Revenge of the Gweilo is an atrociously made film. It has unforgivable sound issues, horrendous dialogue, and acting that is middle school level at best. This film has some of the worst choreographed fight scenes I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen Miami Connection, Hobgoblins, and my fair share of post-anyone-giving-a-shit-about-him fat Steven Segal films featuring the hilariously bloated “actor” saving Eskimo from oil, or whatever. This film is terrible, with a paper-thin story and a visual style that is so outdated and cheap looking, you’d think it was shot in the early 1970’s before Bruce Lee died. Oh, and to add a moldy cherry on top of this shit sundae, Revenge of the Gweilo was written and directed by an Australian who also plays the films charisma vacuum of a lead. The last film I reviewed from an Australian director garnered me a ton of heat, and I only thought that his movie was “meh” at worst. With that unpleasant vitriol out of the way, I cannot recommend this movie enough. Mark my words, this will go down as an absolute classic, and I, Anthony Ray Bench, will champion for it until my final gasp of strained breath leaves my black hearted chest. This is the most fun I’ve had with a terrible movie in a long time!
“I want this film to have frequent midnight screenings where fans shout out the garbage dialogue…”
The story is your run-of-the-mill Kung-Fu revenge flick. Stop me if you’ve heard this one; a man loses his wife and hunts down those responsible for her death. It’s been done to death, but never this epically bad. This is the Birdemic of martial arts movies. Clunky editing, dialogue that makes you cringe so hard you’ll go blue in the face, and an early sex scene that had me howling with laughter at its absolute non-sexiness. Writer and Director Nathan Hill plays Joseph Lucky, the film’s resident hero on a quest for justice and vengeance. There’s nothing in the plot that’s deeper than this. The film jumps from scene to scene with the editing grace of a drunken elephant on ice skates. Joseph lucky wears a jacket similar to the one worn by Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive. It looks like it was purchased at a Halloween discount store several years after that movie hit theaters. Joseph Lucky does not fit the classic aesthetic of a chiseled action hero. Taking him seriously as this bad ass that everyone fears is more of a suspension of disbelief than Indiana Jones surviving an atomic bomb by hiding away in a fridge. Tritia DeViSha plays Ishtar, the film’s chief antagonist. Her accent is so thick that she stumbles over the script like a distracted toddler. The rest of the cast doesn’t fare any better either, including Mary Annegeline as Joseph Lucky’s doomed fiancé. Her sex scene with Nathan Hill is a true sight to behold.
“The film jumps from scene to scene with the editing grace of a drunken elephant on ice skates.”
This film is comedic gold, and it achieves the perfect blend of awful and genius. This film has rightfully earned its place alongside such lovable travesties like The Room, Samurai Cop, and the aforementioned Birdemic and Miami Connection. This is the best unintentionally horrible film I’ve seen in recent memories…but was it really unintentional? A lot of times when a filmmaker sets off to purposefully create a bad film, it comes off as disingenuous. Look at Birdemic 2: The Resurrection, for instance. While the first film had undeniable charm in its incompetence, by the time James Nguyen decided to cash in with a sequel, he was in on the joke and the sequel undeniably lost that authenticity, instead becoming a pale parody of the original. If Nathan Hill set out to make a film spoofing the genre, he did so in such a manner that will have you asking yourself the entire time “Are they serious? They can’t be…can they?” It’s a true compliment to Nathan Hill’s comedic abilities and vision if this film intentionally sets out to be the cinematic dumpster fire that it is.
I want this film to have frequent midnight screenings where fans shout out the garbage dialogue. I want this film to raise a hidden language of inside vernacular between its devoted followers. I want this film to be riffed by Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the gang from Rifftrax. This is a movie that has to be seen, and it is an absolute recommendation for all those with a soft spot in their heart for bad, albeit entertaining films. This is a new masterpiece in terrible, and you will not be disappointed with it if you watch it with your closest friends and your strongest drinks.
Revenge of the Gweilo (2017) Written and Directed by: Nathan Hill. Starring: Nathan Hill, Mary Annegeline, Tritia DeViSha, Cory Corbett, Robert Rafik Awad, Christina Chin, Hwee Hall, Tien Herschel, Elmira Jurik, Khoa Le.
8 out of 10