"Superheroes" Rocks Its Tiny Budget Review

If you look at my bio here at JPP, you'll notice that it says I’m a bit a Watchmen fanatic. Watchmen has colored my appreciation of the superhero genre forever. I can't stomach reading weekly/monthly DC or Marvel hero entries any more. I want my heroes darker, edgier, slightly more "real." I pretty much worship The Comedian, after all. It's that dark edge that keeps me coming back to my favorite comics and makes me seek out newer stuff like Fly, Deathmatch and Before Watchmen. Also known as Vs., All Superheroes Must Die stars Jason Trost as Charge. When he awakens on a lonely street in the middle of what appears to be a small town, he discovers that he's trapped in a game of survival alongside fellow heroes CutThroat (Lucas Till), Shadow (Sophie Merkley) and The Wall (Lee Valmassey) against Rickshaw (James Remar).

In a chat with JPP editor Lex Walker, he made a great point after I asked why no one ever cast Remar as a super villain before. Walker's rationale was that as an actor ages, it almost becomes an inevitability that he (or she) would play a super villain. I think this is accurate as in the past decade or so we’ve seen a lot of older actors slide easily into the villain role in various films. It’s a safe bet that you’ll get at the very least an interesting performance from the known commodity, that’s for sure. Remar is terrifying as Rickshaw. The character is a distillation of The Joker with a healthy dose of Mysterio for good measure. Dangerously devious and exacting in his plot to annihilate the heroes in the film, Rickshaw pops up to taunt and prod the heroes at their weakest.

Jason Trost writes and directs here. The dude rocks an eye patch, apparently loves Dance Dance Revolution (the subject of his film The FP), and can direct the hell out of a superhero flick. This is one of those rare times where I'll say I prefer the indie filmmaker to remain indie and low-budget. Trost clearly knows how to get the most out of what he has (this flick only cost about a million to make but looks like it cost far more). He also takes on the most thankless role in the entire piece, the team’s leader.

The heroes' outfits are all very realistic. They aren't particularly flashy or loaded with armor (with the exception of The Wall, whose outfit is armored to a point) and gadgets. This adds to the charm of the film as the heroes all come across as those guys you see online that are "real superheroes" or whatever. You never get the impression that these are characters who have the means to survive this scenario. They're more or less regular folks who happen to fight crime.

It's that human element that gets me to invest in superheroes. I like the powers and the battles with the villains and all, but the really interesting aspect is who the heroes and villains are behind the mask. All Superheroes Must Die does a good job of showing the audience who these heroes are, why they do or don't get along and what their history is. You get the impression that this is a Teen Titans-esque squad that has since gone their own ways, due to bad blood and infighting.

One of the more interesting moments occurs when one of the heroes is fatally wounded and starts questioning what pain is, as if he's never felt it before. The heroes, without their powers, seem to fail at rising to the occasion. These guys aren't Batman, they're not problem-solvers for the most part. Relying on their powers is the ultimate failure. Like Bane says in The Dark Knight Rises: "Victory has defeated you." I think that applies nicely to the heroes in All Superheroes Must Die.

Blu-ray Bonus Features


"All Superheroes Must Die" is on sale January 29, 2013 and is not rated. Thriller. Written and directed by Jason Trost. Starring Jason Trost, Lucas Till.

Robert Ottone • Staff Writer

A natural bon vivant in love with cigars, finery and luxurious booze, SelfieRob aims to make light of the world around him while living the party boy lifestyle. From the Hamptons to NYC and beyond, SelfieRob lives life to the fullest.


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