Hollywood likes to keep it in the family. The only caveat being of course, as long as they’re male. It seems to be almost a trend now that a large number of brothers direct projects together.
You have your Coens, Russos, Duffers and Hughes, to name just a few. Then you have the Wachowskis, who were of course huge when they identified as male, but since both now identify as female, not so much. Surprise, surprise.
Hoping to continue the trend of successful male siblings are the Bakers, Jonathan and Josh. They’ve taken their 2014 short Bag Man and super-sized it for the big screen.
14 year old Eli (Myles Truitt) is a good kid at heart, but still manages to get into trouble. He was adopted at a very young age by Hal (Dennis Quad) and his wife, but since she died, Hal’s been trying his hardest to raise Eli right. He was probably hoping to do better than his own birth son Jimmy (Jack Reynor), who has just got out of prison after a six year stretch.
In attempt to make a little money on the side, Eli rummages through abandoned buildings for scrap he can sell. In one building he discovers dead bodies, in what appears to be some kind of military outfits. He also finds a large, metallic black object that lights up when he touches it. A noise spooks him and he runs off, but he decides to return the next day.
This time, the bodies have mysteriously disappeared, but the object is still there, so he takes it. After inspecting it, he realises that it’s some kind of weapon, but like nothing he’s seen before. In fact it looks like the kind of space rifle you would find in a video game.
Meanwhile, his brother Jimmy pays a visit to Balik (James Franco), a dangerous type, who offered Jimmy protection in prison – for a price. And now is the time to cough up – sixty grand no less – or things could get scary for Jimmy and his family.
The problem is Jimmy doesn’t have that kind of money, and when he attempts to get it illegally, the plan goes tragically wrong. This finds brothers Jimmy and Eli on the run, with a very peculiar gun...
You can see the attraction brothers would have to a film about family. And, erm, ray guns. But by combining the two together, the mash up they make is, well, mush.
Its moral compass is on the fritz too. If a young boy found a cute robot in an abandoned building, that would be adorable. And if the robot had the ability to shoot lasers out of its butt, that would be OK. The idea of promoting the idea that a boy finds a really big gun and solves his problems with it, is far from ideal.
And then you have the fact that there’s just one female role, played by Zoё Kravitz, in the entire film. And of course she’s a stripper with a heart of gold. It’s just disappointing that they couldn’t have put a brave spin on it and made her a hooker. Oh well, maybe next time.
You have to feel bad for the cast, who actually put some graft in. Particularly Truitt, who makes an impressive big screen debut, just in a dubious flick.
They say that two heads are better than one, but bros Jonathan and Josh really prove that that’s definitely not always the case.