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Antonio Lexerot
Vincent J. Roth, John Venturini, Eric Roberts
Writing Credits:
Vincent J. Roth

Surge leaves his home town to pursue his arch enemy in Las Vegas.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 1/30/2018

• Behind the Scenes Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• “Big City Chronicles” Episodes
• Trailer and Sneak Peek


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Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 27, 2018)

Apparently 2004 brought a film called Surge of Power: The Stuff of Heroes. No, I never heard of it either, but according to promotional materials, it represented “cinema’s first out gay superhero”.

After a long break, the series returns with 2017’s Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel. Like the first one, this tale follows the exploits of Gavin Lucas (Vincent J. Roth), an ordinary man who developed the ability to use energy in a super-powered way. In an attempt to utilize his abilities for good, Gavin transformed himself into a hero called “Surge”.

Surge’s arch-nemesis Metal Master (John Venturini) gets out of jail and finds himself enticed back to a life of crime by another baddie named Augur (Eric Roberts). Surge battles to halt their wicked plans.

In a world populated by big-budget superhero efforts under the Marvel and DC banners, there exists a place for something less expensive and more niche, and that’s where Power finds itself. In theory, it can find a path of its own and offer a fun counterpoint to its box office-conquering siblings.

But only in theory, as the end result stinks – and stinks to high heavens. I’ve seem crummier movies than Power, I guess, but I find it tough to think of many right now.

Power feels like a movie made by people who’ve never seen a movie. Cheap, tacky and relentlessly amateurish, it’s hard to believe anyone involved ever worked on a film, as zero talent appears on the screen.

The problems damage each aspect of the production. The story feels thin at best, and the movie tells its tale in a clumsy manner that never feels fluid or involving.

This means we find arguably the most awkward exposition I’ve ever seen. About 20 minutes into the movie, Power grinds to a halt to give us the characters’ backstory, a choice that means the sequel actually uses footage from the first flick.

Even if this didn’t damage the already tenuous narrative, it flops because they footage doesn’t match. Couldn’t they create new material to throw out the backstory – and do something to let the exposition mesh in a superior way?

Silly me – that works on the assumption that semi-competent filmmakers created Power, a notion that seems far, far from the truth. Even if we ignore the clunky narrative flow and barely-existent story, the film suffers from stilted dialogue and negligible character development. The “story” often acts more as a lecture about gay rights than anything else, and those elements fail to integrate with the rest of the tale.

Essentially Power tries to get by on two fronts: campy comedy and cameos. The former lacks any form of cleverness or wit, and the latter just make me sad.

We find a slew of “C”-level celebs here, all of whom should feel embarrassed to be involved. Maybe they really needed the money or the exposure – or perhaps they just owed someone a favor. Whatever the case, the end result acts as a blemish on the respective filmographies.

In addition to lead actor, Roth served as writer and general mastermind of the series. His IMDB page lists virtually no non-Surge credits, which makes me wonder how he got to this position.

Roth didn’t get into movies via talent, as he demonstrates none in any domain. Not only does he generate a terrible script, but also he delivers a thoroughly awful lead performance. Roth reads lines like he just saw them on a cue card and fails to present any personality or range.

So far, we’ve encountered a terrible script and unconvincing acting – does Power fare better behind the camera? Nope – it suffers from the same relentlessly amateurish feel in that domain as well.

Once again, we find nothing that resembles a competent film. We get awkward edits, poor shot choices, clumsy photographic angles, iffy looping and abysmal effects.

Admittedly, I don’t expect a super-low-budget effort like Power to resemble the new Avengers movie, but I think we could’ve gotten something more professional than this. The movie looks as though it was shot on an iPhone – which might actually be true - and everything about it screams “amateur hour”.

Did I like anything about Power? Actor Mariann Gavelo looks incredibly hot – and that’s the only positive. Power presents a cheap, tacky, idiotic effort that should embarrass all involved.

Footnote: cruelly, the end credits fail to alleviate the pain, as Power includes footage as they roll – and then more material after they finish. Doesn’t the Geneva Convention have something to say about this?

The Disc Grades: Picture D+/ Audio D/ Bonus C-

Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A cheaply made movie, the image fell far below modern expectations.

Sharpness became one of the issues. At best, the movie showed acceptable delineation, but it tended to seem a little mushy and without real accuracy.

Occasional edge haloes affected definition, and the movie also showed more than a few instances of jagged edges or moiré effects. Though the image lacked any print flaws, its cheap video source demonstrated more than a few artifacts.

Colors went with an emphasis on blues and ambers, none of which looked especially strong. Though the hues didn’t look terrible, they seemed too heavy and lacked real clarity or vivacity.

Blacks were moderately dark and deep, but shadows lacked much smoothness, so low-light shots tended to seem murky and dense. This was a problematic image.

I also felt unimpressed by the film’s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. First of all: Dolby stereo for a circa 2017 film? Seriously?

Even if I ignore the lossy nature of the mix, the lack of surround usage made this a subpar track. Dolby 5.1 seems like the least we should expect from a movie in this day and age, whereas the stereo restrictions of Power plop it back in the 80s.

The soundscape failed to offer much involvement, as music did most of the “heavy lifting” – and even then, those elements lacked a lot of breadth. The score showed passable stereo spread but didn’t really expand terribly well.

As for effects, they tended toward the monaural side of the street. These elements occasionally broadened to the sides, but they lacked real movement or involvement and felt awfully restricted.

Audio quality didn’t do better, as speech tended to sound tinny and distant. Terrible looping occurred as well, all of which made the dialogue a lackluster aspect of the mix.

Music showed passable range but didn’t impress, and effects tended to sound thin and flat. Shockingly, the track came with some hiss and background noise – how is that possible for a modern movie?

All of this came back to the movie’s low budget, but I don’t swallow that as an excuse. I’ve seen plenty of other cheaply-shot films that boasted vastly superior production values. Power offered a soundtrack that would’ve been iffy in the 80s, much less in 2018.

When we shift to extras, we find a behind the scenes featurette. It goes for 19 minutes, 53 seconds and includes comments from writer/actor Vincent J. Roth, director Antonio Lexerot and director of photography Mario DeAngelis.

The featurette looks at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects, and the film’s reception. With almost 20 minutes at its disposal, I expect a decent overview about the film, but this reel feels superficial and forgettable.

Five Deleted Scenes run a total of seven minutes, 58 seconds. Most offer minor extensions to existing sequences, and a couple others are really outtakes. None of them seem interesting, though I’m happy to see more of sexy Mariann Gavelo.

Under Big City Chronicles, we find three “episodes”: “What Is Surge of Power?” (4:17), “Surge Meets June Lockhart” (3:06) and “Audience Reactions” (7:18). These “webisodes” offer promotional material related to the film. They’re moderately interesting at best, and usually pretty self-serving. Seven minutes of praise for this atrocity? Eep.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a Sneak Peek at Surge 3. This goes for three minutes, 51 seconds and mainly shows Nichelle Nichols on the third movie’s set. It’s not a “preview” in the traditional sense, but it might be fun for those who want to see a little behind the scenes footage.

As I went into Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel, I hoped I’d find a fun twist on the superhero genre. Instead I discovered a relentlessly stupid, amateurish embarrassment that lacks even the slightest hint of talent or cleverness. The Blu-ray displays weak picture and audio along with mediocre supplements. I feel sad for everyone involved in this thoroughly awful movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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