Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Genre Character of the Week: The Crimson Bolt

I had heard about the movie Super a few years ago and as I’ve enjoyed the films of James Gunn whenever I’ve caught them (Slither is my current favourite, but Lollilove had a nice mockumentary-feel throughout) so the idea of a super-hero film starring Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) sounded like something right up my alley.

A number of obstacles soon started to form however; it didn’t play in any of my local theatres, and review after review of the film left me feeling less enthusiastic about the film. The movie came out on DVD earlier this year, and it sat on the shelves at my local department store for $25 – which is a little steep for me to purchase a movie without watching it first. Even my online DVD-rental place didn’t have it. Then, while grocery shopping with my BFF Mike last week, I found it in my local Safeway for $5, so I snapped it up. Which leads to this week’s genre character, Frank D’Arbo, aka The Crimson Bolt.

Frank (played by Rainn Wilson) is a short-order cook, married and a pretty simple guy; he loves his wife and one of his favourite memories is of helping the police. One day his wife leaves him for a jerk named Jacques played by Kevin Bacon and Frank breaks down.

Finding inspiration in a Christian-themed super hero show called The Holy Avenger (played by Nathan Fillion) who saves children from a devil with the power of Christ, Frank decides to become a superhero, after all, in the words of the Holy Avenger

"All it takes to become a superhero is the choice to fight evil"

So Frank sets out to stop crime, and the movie follows him as he stumbles and bumbles his way through his new life. Personally, I enjoy the fact that the violence in the film is very realistic and does a good job of showing just how vicious Frank can be with criminals. I found that the similarly-themed film Kick-Ass sort of glorified the violence that the main character caused, and I felt this film did a better job of dealing with the themes of religion, self-worth and redemption better than the other.

Frank comes across as a simple guy pushed too far. He is not unlike Michael Douglas in Falling Down (one of my favourite non-genre films) in that he wants to live in a world where right and wrong obvious and separate. Although the film won’t be for everyone, I actually ended up liking it and yes, it will stay in my DVD collection.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review! I finally got around to seeing it yesterday. Holy Moley! It was disturbing but powerful. A worthy film, with more to say than other violent vigilante fare such as (for example) Punisher: War Zone.