Film Threat archive logo


By Merle Bertrand | November 30, 1998

Every now and then, you’ll see a film where the filmmaker has more desire than talent; more guts than cash. A truly independent film like Marcus van Bavel’s so-goofy-ya-gotta-love it “Redboy 13.”
Sean (Devon Roy-Brown) is a 13 year-old junior high school kid/secret agent for the CYA… no, that’s not a typo. The CYA, which gives you about all the insight you need to appreciate this film’s groaner humor. Anyway, the CYA, a covert military branch, sends the wunderkind into the Central American country of – ahem – Murkinagua to face his evil nemesis, Dr. Heimlich Manure (van Bavel) and… hold it.
Does this not sound like the kind of films all of us geeky filmmakers used to make on our Super 8 cameras when we were kids, or what? The plot – standard James Bond-type stuff run through a cornball filter – really isn’t even all that important. Even the presence of a “name” actor like Robert (“Wilderness Family”) Logan somehow only adds to the film’s charming innocence.
You see, “Redboy 13” is one of those rare films where it’s not so important how good the movie is, although it is at times outlandishly funny, as it is that it got made at all. Get this: The thing is shot in Cinemascope(!), van Bavel built his own soundstage to house the sets, he designed and built his own crane (which is truly a behemoth, if memory serves correctly,) and he came up with his own computer animation system to render the film’s dozens of explosions and other effects.
This made-for-Cult-Status film, with its uneven acting, inconsistent pacing and simplistic storytelling, isn’t for everyone and certainly isn’t for those who only consume, er, enjoy, the typical slickly-produced Hollywood adventure film. But if you have a soft spot for stubborn DIY indies like this film’s spiritual godfather “The Wizard of Speed and Time,” then check out “Redboy 13.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon