Retiring dentist Joe Corduroy (Richard Reeder) sets out to deliver vigilante justice after his nephew Spencer (Roger Wayne) is mugged and left in a coma. Armed with the gun he gave his nephew as a present, Joe begins a more proactive stint as a crime fighter, and his victims learn that crime not only doesn’t pay, it has a very high mortality rate.
Writer/Director Mike P. Nelson‘s The Retirement of Joe Corduroy sets out to be a revenge flick and succeeds, even upping the stakes with a real batshit crazy turn in the third act that I never saw coming. At all.
On top of its obvious nature, the look of which has that faded film reel-style we’ve seen quite often in recent years to denote “old, grimey grindhouse,” there’s actually a heart to it. Joe’s not some unhinged psychopath, and Richard Reeder’s portrayal brings a depth to his character that only accents that he is a hurt man who thinks he’s lost his best friend in the world, and people will pay for that.
The film is also buoyed along by a score that is perfect, grinding up the action and suspense while also letting the quiet moments rest. The running time places the short film at a sitcom-level of attention span required, which will likely be comfortable for some viewers. It does move at a leisurely pace, but the film has its tone and it commits to it, so to move things along quicker might serve to throw off the balance.
Overall, The Retirement of Joe Corduroy does what it sets out to do, and does it well. The insane third act sequence may’ve come from out of nowhere, but it fit not only the tone of this individual piece, but the genre-stylings and narratives that the film is doing its best to underline. In a way, Joe was the film’s superhero, and a superhero of his stature needs an equally demented villain (or villains) to come up against at some point. And when it happens… hoo boy…
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