FIREPOWER (2002) – 15 Year Anniversary

This is an ambitious Sci-Fi short film (about 29 minutes) by Hatz Off Filmz (Nic White), a 13 Dead Eskimos production.

Note: though apparently filmed in a 4:3 aspect ratio, the version I watched has the sides ‘padded’ to a widescreen size. I personally don’t like when videos are presented in that manner, finding it distracting. I feel it’d be better if the sides were blacked out (a letterbox style).

Right from the get-go (following a few seconds of silence, with an image of the number “13” – I’m assuming the logo of 13 Dead Eskimos productions), the driving music (Metal version of Ring of Fire) and unique display of credits (I really love how they ‘arrive’ onscreen from various directions, rather that the standard, boring scroll, fade-in/out, etc. of many films) already succeeds in grabbing attention.

Two friends (Nic and Joe) are heading home from a camping trip. They notice something that’s been ejected by a spacecraft – a green meteor – and take it home.

“Dude! We found it!”

The next day, Nic shows Joe how he can use the meteor to shoot a fireball. Joe tries, and accidentally kills Nic’s dog. Though apologizing, Joe is obviously seduced by the potential power. A week later they split the meteor so each has a half. Meanwhile a mysterious bounty hunter (homage to the Asmodius character from Equinox) is at the ‘crash site,’ and very upset that someone’s found the meteor.

The following day, Joe makes a necklace out of his portion. Nic has the same idea. Joe heads out to ‘practice’ using his necklace – apparently burning down a house in the process. The bounty hunter, driving through town, notices the house and figures the meteor must be nearby.

Later that evening Nic has a nightmare, where he and Joe have an all-out battle. Jerking awake, he hears a knock and it’s Joe. Both show their necklaces. Joe confesses to having burned down a house (the one the bounty hunter noticed). The two have a classic good/evil debate.

“Not my bunny!”

Joe demonstrates how serious he is by incinerating Nic’s bunny,then heads to an outdoor location to practice focusing his powers before confronting Nic for his portion of the meteor.

I want to avoid any serious spoilers, so let’s just say that the inevitable showdown between Joe and Nic (as well as the bounty hunter) occurs. Following that, a nice little twist is added at the end.

What I liked:

  • I thought the storyline/script was very good.
  • The background music throughout was good – not overwhelming, yet enough to underscore the action.
  • The credit sequences (opening and closing) were good and unique
  • The sound effects during the fistfight scenes was very cliched, but actually worked very well.
  • The fireball effects were good.
  • The acting was pretty good – maybe a few forced/stilted lines, but that’s nit-picking

What I didn’t like:

  • The spaceship animations looked too cartoonish.
  • A few scenes where lighting/contrast was too extreme and made the image hard to see.
  • The flame effect following Joe ‘shooting’ Nic’s dog looked unrealistic.
  • There was a minor continuity error early on – but not a distraction.
  • The ‘padding’ of the 4:3 ratio into widescreen is distracting.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this – and would love to see an updated version of it. Considering when this was made, I believe it’s actually superior to some short films I’ve seen from the past couple of years. Using the CinemaSlice “Reel” Rating System, I’m a little torn, but I’d give this:

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Francis Lalonde

Sitting forward
I'm an avid film fan, though more oriented toward older films (1930s to 1970s). My favorite genre is Comedy, though I also enjoy Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror films (and hybrid mixes). I also recently have become an avid photographer (and videographer to a lesser extent), mostly nature landscapes, though I'll also take pics (and videos) of buildings, events, and live performances. I dabble writing (very short) screenplays, and have been lucky enough to have had a few actually filmed (By Michael Welborn). Michael Welborn has also cast me in a few of his films (mostly as an extra). Darkhaus films has also cast me to help refilm a few scenes in one of their productions.

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