Normally when I screen an independently-produced film, I offer as much of a curve as I possibly can while reviewing. I’m a regular advocate of DIY filmmaking for creatives who have observed their own respective talents and strive to build themselves and bring good storytelling and equally fierce screenfighting to the fray in their projects. Some are zero-budgeted while others have some type of investment involved with a crew of enough experienced people to help bring the essential pieces together for a single movie. Conclusively, when it works, it works.
That said, I’m not going to go into the specifics regarding the development and history leading up to the production of a’Ali DeSouza’s feature debut, Jackson Bolt, starring actor and decorated martial artist, Robert Parham. My knowledge on that end is nil. However, what I do know, pertaining to the latter statement of my introductory paragraph, is that while when a film works when all the right and functional pieces are put in place, the opposite goes on all fronts, and it leaves a film almost entirely insufferable, which is, unfortunately, what this film does from start to finish: Poor editing and audio, subpar acting and fight scenes that, even with some of the techniques and decent moments of choreography considered, make the prospects of eating a mayonaise and jelly sandwich with extra broccoli and a side of rotten eggs more exciting.
For what it’s worth, the plot itself could have worked under better circumstances. It deals with the multi-angular story weaving together the lives of Jackson (Parham), a cop struggling with depression who finds himself framed for the murder of his partner, and Sky (Natasha Dee Davis), a helpless prostitute held captive by a sadistic, incorrigible pimp named Jimmy (James E. Meyer) and forced to work off her debts; Sky’s story is one that gets off horribly on the wrong foot from a filmmaking point of view, and particularly if you’re not too much into rape scenes. I get that such scenes are prudent to a film’s development depending on the vision of the director and where he/she wants to go with the story, and in some cases, scenes like those might even be forgiveable if handled with taste…whereas with DeSouza’s freshman venture here, by the end, you’ll be left struggling to forgive yourself for sticking around for more than ten minutes.
I came into this film not knowing what to expect. I didn’t even look at the trailer so it was as blind as it was my first-anything into DeSouza’s work. With that in mind, I’m wholly puzzled as to how any critic could even lend this film even a measureable note of praise for its creative merits. I found myself tuning out more times than I cared to count in between scenes that had me sighing with frustration, laughing to hide the pain, or scoffing at the screen, period.
If this film is as good as critics are suggesting, fifty bucks says I can beat Parham up.
Here’s an addenum before we part ways: Legendary actor Fred Williamson appears in this movie at least three times. This is the second time I’ve reviewed a horrible movie with this actor involved in some capacity since I started writing on this site and for someone as admired as he is, he deserves better. And for that matter, if you love quality action on film, so do you.