Max Reload And The Nether Blasters was made by nerds, for nerds. While the supernatural sci-fi–actioner has enough heart and energy to potentially breakthrough to a broader audience, anyone who’s fandom engulfs their day to day life will instantly be on board before the first 5-minutes are up. Written and directed by Scott Conditt and Jeremy Tremp, have crafted an original and fun adventure that will become a favorite in many nerd-centric circles.
Max (Tom Plumley) is a talented coder but has little ambition, more than happy working at the local video game store, and playing an MMO all day. His best friends Liz (Hassie Harrison) and Reggie (Joey Morgan), work at the store as well. After a raid gone wrong, due to Max’s inability to work with his friends, he realizes he’s late for work… again. Scrambling about, he makes it just in time for his friendly, but goofy, boss Chuck (Kevin Smith) to notice he’s late and assign him bathroom duty.
“…anyone watching his live stream of the game becomes infected, with glowing red eyes, and attempt to kill anyone…”
While cleaning the lavatory, a mysterious man, The Harbinger (Richard Lippert), drops off a box. When Max opens it, he discovers the only existing copy of a game whispered about in urban legend: Nether Dungeons. After work, he plays it and beats it rather quickly, though anyone watching his live stream of the game becomes infected, with glowing red eyes, and attempt to kill anyone who stands in the way of the game’s goal of utter world domination. Teaming up with Liz, Reggie, and the game’s enigmatic creator, Eugene (Greg Grunberg), who’s been MIA for years, Max must learn the value of teamwork and stop this game before it enslaves everyone.
Max Reload And The Nether Blasters works because it is believable. The coding that is seen looks legitimate enough, and hearing these characters talk about videogames sounds exactly like how my friends and I discuss our passions (be they movies, games, books, etc.). The filmmakers intrinsically understand the root of these fandoms and have crafted a love letter to them. While those inclined to not like video games or cult movies might not be able to get into it, the film’s kinetic style and heart will win over most people.
The numerous humorous scenarios, such as the goofy cutaways to Chuck on a virtual reality vacation, or the retro-Arcade Heroes documentary (narrated by Wil Wheaton) explaining the origins of the game and its creators, means the movie is always amusing. Add to that the fun, creative plot, whose stakes feel very high and real (early on, Reggie is infected for a brief time), and the exciting action scenes, and you have a recipe for a good time.
"…made by nerds, for nerds."