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?