Red Skulls, The
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I have to say that I love gang movies. I'm not talking about the gun toting, drive by-ing, hip hop listening gangs of today's youth, but the weird switchblade carrying youths of yesteryear. Movies like The Warriors, The Wanderers, A Clockwork Orange and The Lords of Flatbush always brought characterization to their hooligans. My dad use to tell me tales of he and friends in his youth singing doo-wop songs at a street corner. That and roughing up the rival gangs that would foolishly cross their corner and interrupt their chorus. Yes folks, Rufus is the son of a greaser, Maybe that's why I enjoyed the Red Skulls so much. Instead of shooting for bling and pimping on womenz the Red Skulls are more low key. This is the classic gang with the blades and the bat with a nail through the end. Gotta love that.
The film opens with the Red Skulls preparing for a scuffle with another gang called the Rats. In the Skulls there is also a power shift. The leader of the gang Uri gives up his leadership after watching his best friend get killed by the Rats. In steps Lester. The new leader Lester knows the truth of what happened the night Uri's friend was killed by the Rats, so he turns the Red Skulls against their former leader by claiming that Uri abandoned them. Knowing that Uri is the only other person to know of Lester's cowardness he tries to lure back Uri by recruiting his best friend's brother Donnie into the gang. Uri had plans to leave the gang life behind until he finds out about Donnie joining up to fight the Rats and stays into town to try to get him out. Inside the gang however one member is not so happy about Lester's self appointment as leader. With a heisted chemical, he plans to sabotage Lester and take over the leadership himself. Things of course go down from there for the gang, but for the viewer we get one hell of a bloody mess.
Babes, blades and blood is what Red Skulls delivers. The odd thing is that the movie is really broken up into 2 parts. The first part is a gang movie, full of characterization, funny moments and internal struggle while the second half is a full blown 28 Days Later crazed killer flick. I have to say that it definitely caught me for a loop. Frankly, I would have been perfectly happy if it was strictly a movie about the two gangs. I liked the characters and the dynamic of each individual.
While the crazed zombie-esque part at first disappointed me because it took the tone of the film into a whole different theme, we still get a gang fight at the end and the screen starts to turn red. By this time though it is the good gang members, the Rats and those crazed remains of the Red Skulls that have a taste of blood. Kind of a pickle for our heroes and heroines, eh?
The direction was impressive, the acting went from quite impressive to passable and damn did I love the rockabilly soundtrack. I need to give a shout out to James L. Edwards. I haven't seen him in anything since Polymorph, and I have to say he must have been seeing an acting coach because his chops were impressive. For a low to no budget film, I was smiling the whole time. This had an 80s cheese factor that I absolutely loved, and the gore was flinging left and right.
While I would have possibly enjoyed it more if the zombie aspect was left out, I can say that in the end that it definitely made the movie almost a complete package. The Red Skulls is an easy 4 can buy that I will watch again. Directors Andrew and Lucas Campbell did a fine job of keeping the characters a main focus instead of just the gore, and walked the line of enjoyable cult cheese and seriousness perfectly. Gore hounds and anyone that still buys stock in Dapper Dan will definitely enjoy this one.
Added: Wednesday, January 10, 2007
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