I think I finally know why it is the films of Richard Marr-Griffin appeal so much to me. Many filmmakers wax rhapsodic about getting bit by the directing bug in their youth, talking at length about the halcyon days of shooting movies in their backyard with their friends on hand-me-down Super 8 cameras. While most directors leave that carefree, anything goes sense of playfulness behind, or spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to recreate those times (hey there JJ Abrams) the Providence based filmmaker seems to have never let go of that anarchic spirit. The only thing that has changed is Griffin’s continued evolution as a filmmaker and storyteller with each film.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Griffin’s latest work, Future Justice. The film mashes genres together, pulling from post apocalyptic science-fiction, 80’s action movies and the classic nonsensical comedy of Mel Brooks. Future Justice is a wonderful skewering of the low-budget movies that would run on heavy rotation during the early days of cable television.
The plot of Future Justice is a familiar staple of the post-apocalyptic science fiction cannon. A military team is charged with transporting a war criminal, the wonderfully named Python Diamond* back to Earth for sentencing. Unknown to them, the whole world has been decimated by nuclear war, wiping out billions of people and leaving the few remaining survivors sterile and scavenging for food and shelter. The team come across two different factions: a peaceful group that has hunkered down to research ways to improve life and a gang of violent marauders willing to steal and kill in order to keep themselves well stocked. Of course, that’s not all that’s going on, as both groups find they may have to put their own differences aside to deal with the menace of a mutated sewer dwelling slime monster.
What Future Justice lacks in terms of a multimillion dollar budget and state of the art special effects, it more than makes up for in absurdest humor and spot on performances. Nathaniel Sylvia’s script is loaded with the kind of nonsensical humor that might not be for those who enjoy the feeling of sticks up their rectums, but leaves me in stitches. Lines where hard-ass military personnel follow up barking instructions by recommending the best place for fettuccine alfredo are par for the course. On the subject of barking, a two word utterance from a “human dog” (Kevin Killavey)brought down the house at the end of the film. As always, Griffin plays to his ensembles strengths. The film is an amalgamation of classic dystopias like Mad Max, Escape From New York and Assault on Precinct 13 and this cast is more than up to the challenge of playing to the broad type of character you would come to expect. Sylvia wrote himself a juicy leading role as Python Diamond**-the criminal on the side of justice, and the film is filled with standout performances such as the Aaron Andrade as a hard ass sergeant, Steven O’Broin as “Gazebo”-the leader of the murderous gang and Tobias Wilson &Christian Masters as “Rag” & “Tag”-the comedic relief for the gang. The always welcome Michael Thurber lends the film the gravitas it needs and he deserves special mention for the most challenging role of his career. To say any more is to spoil one of my all time favorite entrances in any film, hands down.
More than anything, Future Justice is a damn fun night at the movies. Anyone that grew up on Swartzeneggar and Stallone and still enjoys those films for the heaping helpings of cheese they offer will get a kick out of the film. Definitely put this on your “must see” list when it gets its official VOD and DVD release in 2015.
*I’m half tempted to knock my wife up again just so I can give this name to my offspring. I feel like Costanza when he thought of “Seven.”
**Best name since “Clubber Lang”