With comic book movies being the only thing that Hollywood wants to make these days, it’s a sad fact that one of the world’s most interesting and comprehensive comic-strip franchises has been tragically underserved by the silver screen. The stories contained in a single issue of British Anthology comic 2000AD could easily power a movie studio on thrill power alone, and yet features have been few and far between.
It’s not for want of trying though, and 2000AD owners Rebellion have staff dedicated to making it all happen. In the meantime though, whilst we wait for some sort of Dredd sequel, the fans are hard at work showing the world exactly how it should be done. Namely by picking some of the more recognisable 2000AD stories and making near-perfect homages to them.
Search/Destroy – A Strontium Dog Fan Film is only 20 minutes or so long but captures the world of Strontium Dog perfectly. For those who aren’t familiar with the comic strip; Strontium Dog is a set in a post-apocalyptic Britain where much of the population has become mutated. Most of the mutations are horrific, and one of the few jobs open to them is as Search/Destroy agents; Bounty Hunters. The main protagonists are Johnny Alpha (who has glowing eyes) and his friend Wulf Sternhammer (a Viking).
The plot of this short movie feels like it comes straight from the pages of the comic. We open with a shoot out, and learn that someone is murdering S/D Agents. From there, the heroes take on aliens, thugs and other kinds of monsters. Frame by frame, the film feels faithful to the source material. Matthew Simpson is the perfect blend of square jawed hero and humble warrior as Johnny Alpha, and Kevin Horsham nails it as Wulf Sternhammer. The supporting cast are also a delight, Guy Hepworth is amazing as Harvey and Integra Fairbrook puts in a strong appearance as the deadly Durham Red. The costumes and special effects are extremely well done; from the weapons to the Doghouse space station, every care has been made to make this look and feel like they’ve used issues of 2000AD as a shooting script.
We should firmly stress that this is a fan work and made not for profit. It’s a labour of love and it looks absolutely amazing. The feature will be available via the internet in May, and in the meantime fans can catch at various festivals throughout the UK. We can only hope and pray that when Hollywood does call, it looks this good.
SEARCH/DESTROY – A STRONTIUM DOG FAN FILM / CERT: N/A / DIRECTORS: STEPHEN GREEN, STEVEN STERLACCHINI / PRODUCER: STEVEN STERLACCHINI / MUSIC: MICHAEL SAVAGE / STARRING: MATTHEW SIMPSON, KEVIN HORSHAM, EDMUND DEHN, GUY HEPWORTH / RELEASE DATE: MAY 2017