Streaming Sleepers: Mykel Shannon Jenkins Dares To Defy In THE GODS & THE GODS 2: THE DARK SIDE, Now On Tubi
You’d never know it considering the lack of marketing that most niche independent films get, but actor Mykel Shannon Jenkins, best known for roles in Undisputed 3: Redemption and Bao Tran’s The Paper Tigers, is also an accomplished filmmaker with four directing credits to his name among other short film and TV projects. His current resume at the helm includes his 2017 sophomore effort, The Gods, an operatic Romeo & Juliet-style crime drama about what it means to choose between families when falling in love means possibly going to war.
That predicament comes in a slow, but seething brew when aspiring entrepreneur Mikey James (Jenkins) confronts his adopted members of the Fassano crime family about joining his two brothers in going into business for themselves, and instead are met with precisely the kind of toxic and overbearing denial you might expect from a racist patriarch and his incorrigible son, Anthony (Kevin Interdonato). Exasperating an already uneasy situation is Mikey’s under-the-radar relationship with Anthony’s sister, Sofia (Stefania Spampinato), and the increasing friction between both families, all leading up to an explosive chapter closer that continues the saga into Jenkins’ newly-released sequel, The Gods 2: The Dark Side.
Written and storied by Jenkins, the second chapter finds Mikey and his two brothers forced into hiding five years after the violent events of the first film. Mounting a sizeable debt in their wake, the two warring families now find themselves impelled to make up for their losses to meet the demands of their criminal bosses. Regardless, Anthony, drunk with power and now the presumed head of what’s left of the Fassano family, remains thirsty for blood, and eager to lay as many bodies to waste as he can. It’s a vicious cycle that will put Mikey to the ultimate test to see how far he will go to make things right, and save the people he loves before it’s too late.
The sequel is about twenty minutes longer than the first, and circles back to some familiar themes, branching into a new romantic arc within the second half of the film that sees Mikey once again faced with the looming vicious cycle of violence that he’s only now able to see beyond the façade of the shady criminal underworld. Heavy-handed drama is the stronger suit for both films where Jenkins shows immense strength in addition to fleshing out some of the most intense performances you’ll come to see, including from Interdonato who is relentless on screen. Any and all action and violence takes place within confined moments of gunplay and murder, ripe with blood splatter aplenty, and the occasional knuckle dustup where editing tends to be worse for wear.
To my closing point though, it gets easily intriguing with films of this kind, watching and observing the varying behaviors of all the parties involved. There’s no good-versus-evil paradigm to lean on as opposed to an evil-versus-the-lesser evil you see, and it’s okay to find yourself rooting for the latter. Mikey knows exactly what kind of world he lives in, although his ideals and ill-fated fealty toward his “family” are what lead to his proverbial undoing. That’s where the real tragedy is, and you don’t really see him falter until the sequel when he’s just about lost everything and his hand is finally forced, and what remains to be seen is the generational aftermath of what’s to come. That, of course, depends on whether or not there will be a third entry of The Gods, and to say the least, I’m curious.
The Gods and The Gods 2: The Dark Side are now streaming simultaneously on Tubi, and the trailers both can be viewed below.
“Streaming Sleepers” is a sub-column in which I discuss obscure titles and releases streaming on legit platforms that don’t typically get much commercial attention and mainstream promotion.
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.
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