DANCES WITH FILMS 2021 REVIEW! Alpha Rift is a wildly entertaining fantasy-tinged superhero film that proves big tentpoles can be produced outside the hulking studios. It took me back to comic stores in the 1980s, where dozens of independent publishers were putting out stories about people with extraordinary powers. These comics usually had smaller print runs, and some were in black and white, but as they didn’t have to follow the comic code, they struck hard by having sharper edges with villains being killed and swear words being allowed. The movie, written and directed by Dan Lantz, is the independent comic equivalent to today’s Hollywood superhero extravaganza.
It opens with thieves breaking into a vault with instructions to only grab coins and touch nothing else. Well, something else gets touched, and an evil green fog takes over the most blood-thirsty of the bunch, Blades (Philip N. Williams). Then we are introduced to Nolan (Aaron Dalla Villa), an expert on the mythology of the Noblemen, an ancient order of knights that protected the world against demons. He runs a game store with the help of the wise-cracking Gabby (Rachel Nielsen) and nit-picking Lewis (Christopher Ullrich).
“…Nolan [puts] the helmet on, and the battle begins.”
One night, while helping his landlady Kate (Allyson Malandra) find a game for her son, Nolan gets a mysterious package with a gleaming knight’s helmet in it. When he tries the helmet on, he starts tripping hard and across town Blades, with green eyes glowing, senses Nolan’s presence. When Blades attacks the game shop, Kate suggests Nolan put the helmet on, and the battle begins.
At this point, Kate reveals herself as a member of a secret group lead by Corbin (Lance Henriksen), who informs Nolan he is a member of the bloodline of demon hunting Noblemen. Soon Nolan is set up for training with Vicars (Graham Wolfe), a seasoned knight who has little faith in the geeky Nolan. Unfortunately, training becomes a trial by fire as demons break loose and the possessed Blade seeks to obliterate Nolan.
"…if this were the first issue of a comic book, I would buy the next several issues."