Death Grip: Movie Review
Death Grip produced by, directed by, written by, Eric Jacobus and starring Jacobus as the protagonist, Kenny Zemacus, Johnny Yong Bosch (of Power Rangers fame) as the antagonist, Torch, and Nathan Hoskins as Mark Zemacus, Kenny’s autistic brother. The story goes like this:
In an effort to set his life straight, Kenny Zemacus regains custody of his autistic brother Mark, 15 years after their mother’s death. Assigned a last-minute museum catering gig, Kenny reluctantly brings Mark along, who is immediately captivated by the museum’s showpiece — the world-renowned Sacred Coin of Judas. When a murderous satanic cult attempts to steal the coin after the event, Mark’s childlike fascination unwittingly entangles the two brothers in the middle, pinning them with the crime. When Mark is captured, Kenny must descend into the cult’s demonic world to save his brother, propelling them both face to face with their own dark past.
The synopsis sounds interesting and gets the reader’s attention, except for the fact that our protagonist is going after a coin-stealing Satanic cult. It’s been like 20 years since I’ve seen the Satanic cult thing used. Maybe since the Golden Child with Eddie Murphy. So I’m torn, do I say it’s been done before or does the 20 year gap nullify that fact? I’m already getting confused. Let’s proceed…The cover art looks enticing with a Chuck Norris-esque feel that lets you know you are in for a bit of action and maybe some comedy from the look on Hoskin’s face.
Here at Geek Smash HQ we put our movies through a rigorous and stringent analysis process and this one came out pretty well. It’s refreshing to see someone putting their energy into a project because it’s their passion. When I met Jacobus at Comic-Con ’12 and we discussed his projects with his team, I could feel that this is what they were meant to do. A young and exciting team that has come together with the common goal of kicking you in the face with entertainment.
The movie has a sort of Perfect Weapon feel to it, and although the story is nowhere near the same, the result was pretty similar. Here is someone who (as far as I knew at the time) came out of the woodwork with a humble bad-ass-ness and layed waste to a slew of baddies with extreme prejudice. And the choreography…WOW! The early scene at the baseball field really woke me up and sets the stage for a good old-fashioned Kung-Fu Theatre style arse-whooping. After this scene I had to take my popcorn break because I didn’t want to move from my chair going forward.
The acting was good in some places, and not so good in the others. However I always consider the budget when looking at the talent and for the buck, these guys got one hell of a bang! The story was good but a little old-fashioned in the overall scheme. Again, Satanic cult? Now don’t get me wrong, I had no idea they were Satanists for quite a while which I think was probably a good strategic move on the Director’s part. It just sort of merged into the film without me noticing.
I thought the directing and cinematography were fantastic and added to the production value of the film. The angles were all appropriate to the scene and the Jacobus did a great job of capturing emotion with close-ups and the action shots were from different angles than what we traditionally see. I liked how the camera went up and down and in and out of the fight scenes. Really gave me the feeling of immersion.
The dialogue was something I struggled with. There were scenes that felt dragged out and perhaps the Director could have cut some unnecessary footage from the film and manage to keep the story intact. Some of the dialogue felt unnatural to me while other times, I couldn’t help but chuckle. The comedy aspect of the film, I thought, was very well placed and exceptionally well done. The scene with the broken toilet sensor was unthinkably hilarious and was the most memorable scene in the movie. It could really become knows as one of the best scenes in martial art movie history…it was that good and adds to the reasons I feel you should buy this DVD.
The settings were primarily dark and gritty and I think that lighting could have been more efficiently used when changing the mood of the film but I did notice some usage of lighting to highlight some of the action scenes which I thought was creative and effective.
The attire for the film was something I still don’t entirely get. I understand that our hero was just an average guy that just happened to know how to unleash holly hell on people but I would have liked to have seen him fighting more in a tattered T-shirt after a while than in a gray hoodie the entire film except when he was fighting in khaki pants and a button-up shirt. I would have liked to have seen him take off the hoodie and use it as a weapon.
The editing really took this film to another level. It’s often stated that editing can make or break your film and this film is evidence to that statement. Nice cut work, great integration of sound-effects that kept the film entertaining while not giving the viewer too much overload
The DVD & Bu-Ray are available at deathgripmovie.com.
After feeding the data into the amazing Geek Smash rating machine, this was the result: 70/100