DVD REVIEW: AMERICAN RESCUE SQUAD / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: ELLIOT DIVINEY / SCREENPLAY: ELLIOT DIVINEY, ADAM DIVINEY / STARRING: TONY D. CZECH, DOUGLAS SIDNEY, KARIANN CHRISTENSEN, JIMMY KEEBS, ANIKA REITMAN / RELEASE DATE: TBC (UK), MAY 19TH (US)
Armed with an intriguing concept but a plot that isn’t nearly as tight as the costumes worn by these superheroes, American Rescue Squad is a superhero comedy/musical whose laughs are a tad short and whose songs could do with a speck of polish.
The most giggle-worthy aspect of the film is the idea behind it – it involves a plucky janitor, Richard Randolf, seeking the help of two retired superheroes, Common Sense and Personal Responsibility, when The Taxypayer is kidnapped by The Alliance, a merciless group of villains who torture The Taxpayer for all the wrongs he has done unto them. With the help of Birth Control, Randolf, Common Sense and Personal Responsibility must stop The Alliance, consisting of The Hot Chick, The Immigrant, The Freeloader, and The Bible Thumper led by corrupt politician Dick Panzy, from taking over the world via a public rally.
Even with its Seth McFarlane-esque superhero names, American Rescue Squad can’t quite take to the skies. There’s a distinct lack of spark about the film, almost as if the script is so bored with itself that it stretches the film’s 90-odd-minute length to what feels longer. It’s not totally without redeeming features though – the songs, whilst lacking any genuine hook to make you hum them once the film has ended, are awkwardly fun, and Tony D. Czech plays the affable janitor Randolf to a pleasant degree. However, when there’s a plethora of heroes and villains who take up all of the action, it feels somewhat odd that the best character should be the one without any powers.
Being a parody, it’s understandable then that not everything in American Rescue Squad has a typically ‘super’ feel to its more superhero moments. However, one can’t help but feel that, despite its indie credentials, American Rescue Squad could benefit from some stronger visual punches to help move things along.
The concept remains the most intriguing element of the film, and when asked if American Rescue Squad’s hot, impetuous and topical themes work with its indie production values, one has to answer with a stiff, indecisive ‘yes’. Its own klutzy marriage of being a superhero parody film with some musical numbers thrown in and a bawdy take on the state of the contemporary economy is bound to entice viewers, but may leave a skewed aftertaste when watching.
American Rescue Squad still has a lovely dollop of indie charm to it, but nearly everyone involved seems to be disinterested by the whole affair. The film’s script feels unnecessarily stretched, which is a shame because there’s nothing exactly wrong with the film’s story. The fault perhaps lies in the execution, the feeling of many moments being awkwardly handled in direction and performance. American Rescue Squad has an endearing message behind it, but placed in a superhero set-up, the concept becomes overly brash and the superhero take on the film’s themes feel dull and underused. A shame, but a shame with some degree of fun.
Special Features: TBC