Movie Review: Attackazoids, Deploy!!
Mimicking a WWII newsreel, Attackazoids, Deploy!! is a frenetic, ultra-stylized and fun sci-fi romp. Co-directed by Brian Lonano and Jeff Jenkins, this short film is a prequel to the original Attackazoids!, which was solo directed by Lonano with special effects by Jenkins. However, Attackazoids, Deploy!! does stand up on it’s own metallic, death-dealing legs.
This time out Lonano and Jenkins stretch out the retro-futuristic propaganda vibe that was only hinted about in the original film. It’s the smart angle to exploit as it opens up new ideas to explore rather than just narrowly focusing on the titular ravagers of havoc. Here, the fearsome and wonderfully designed Attackazoids are not placed center stage and are in fact pretty much hidden behind the “stage’s” curtains for the majority of the film. So, instead of wearing out the Attackazoids’ welcome in a second film, when the death machines do make their appearance it’s a special and revelatory moment.
Instead of an Attackazoid onslaught, the film describes the history of their creation. When the natives of an off-world colony stage a bloody rebellion, Earth’s Grand Executor vows to put down the uprising by any means necessary, leading to the eventual creation of the Attackazoids. Since the film is designed to mimic real propaganda, the set-up is viciously one-sided, providing only the viewpoint of the oppressively jingoistic human push to victory, a vibe that is reminiscent of Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers.
Attackazoids, Deploy!! moves along at an exceptionally brisk pace for its entire four-minute runtime. Although brief, the film is stunningly ambitious through its exceptional visual flair. Broken up into four distinct chunks, each section of the film develops its own unique design that centers around a different character, from the menacing enemy known as the “Traitor” to the fascist Grand Executor to the ’50s-styled housewife “doing her part” to support the war to the creepy, bloodthirsty scientists building their monstrous, genocidal machines.
But with all this talk of war, death and propaganda, it’s important to keep in mind that the film is done in primarily a lighthearted vein. It’s not quite fair to label the film a comedy even though there are some quite funny comedic bits. But even during the more serious opening scenes, there’s a slightly cheeky tone best exemplified by the pitch-perfect imitation of an old newsreel announcer by Jed Rowen. Also there’s an interesting contrast in the way Lonano and Jenkins use copious amounts of blood spattering during a horrific scene and then later as a comedic effect.
There’s enough going on in Attackazoids, Deploy!! that it works very well as its own film. However, it’s also worth noting that not only is the film a sequel, but also the second planned entry in a bigger franchise. So, the film does end with a heavy anticipation of where the series could continue. The original Attackazoids! was a huge hit on the underground and sci-fi/horror festival circuit and there’s little doubt that the follow-up will follow in those same footsteps. And hopefully that means that there will be more Attackazoids havoc wrought in films to come.
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