All Superheroes Must Die
All Superheroes Must Die 2013
This movie is something that was completely off of my radar aside from the fact that it was on my full list of superhero movies under the title “Vs”, and then a couple weeks ago I saw a review of this movie on Today I Watched a Movie, so when I saw it available at Redbox I picked it up. (And because Redbox asked so nicely, you can also look to see if you can find All Superheroes Must Die at Redbox) It’s an interesting premise: Four superheroes get captured by their archnemesis and placed in a town littered with explosives and hostages where they must play an almost Saw-like game to escape with their lives. It is low budget and it shows, though they do have a clever excuse that the villain suppressed their powers with a serum so they never get a chance to showcase any of their powers, and as a result the movie feels more like a psychological thriller than an actual superhero movie. I think there’s still a lot to like in this movie and was invested from start to finish.
The movie starts off by throwing you into the middle of the situation with only minor clues about what’s going on. There’s Charge, Cutthroat, The Wall, and Shadow who all wake up with injection scars on their wrist. A television turns on and a man named Rickshaw explain the rules of the game to them. Rickshaw himself was one of the best parts of the movie, he felt like something between Jigsaw and the Joker. His main goal isn’t entirely to merely defeat the heroes, or he could have easily done that while they were out cold. Instead, he wants to mess with them, giving them other henchmen to fight and when they come close to rescuing the civilians, he just kills them anyway. His presence on the TV screen reminds me of a much more sadistic Frank Gorshin, who was the Riddler in the Adam West Batman series.
The heroes themselves suffered a bit from an unclear image. The costumes all looked pretty generic and the names had little originality or connection with their powers. The Wall was probably the most clear, as he obviously had invulnerability. Cutthroat makes mention that he used to have speed, but the name Cutthroat doesn’t really mesh well with a superspeeding hero, and there’s no mention at all what sort of powers Shadow has. Not only that, but her costume just made her look like a goth chick. The Wall and Cutthroat both had rather cheap looking masks and a fairly basic costume design. Charge’s costume was the most visually interesting with the damaged mask that was half ripped off, though I wondered why he never just took it completely off, though when I looked up the actor/director Jason Trost I realized that he actually only has one eye. Knowing that, I actually thought it was a clever way to go without using the traditional eyepatch.
The acting overall was rather hit and miss, the henchmen were pretty uninteresting or over the top. I wasn’t very fond of the Wall either, especially when he acts incredibly naive about knowing what pain was. I assume that his power was invulnerability based on that scene, but they also imply that he is quite a bit older than he looks, and I felt it was rather ridiculous to think that he would act so childlike in a moment like that. I did think that Jason Trost did a great job in the lead as Charge, and as mentioned, James Remar was great as the villain Rickshaw. I also thought relative newcomer Sophie Merkley was pretty good as Shadow.
What made this movie work so well for me was really the overall concept. It’s basically a giant superhero death trap/mindfuck. It’s about Rickshaw giving them the illusion of being able to save the people, and then pulling the rug out from under them at the last moment. It’s about having them make the difficult choices of killing each other, killing innocent civilians, or letting everyone die. I think it could have gotten deeper into the issue but for what it was worth, I was interested. I also liked the little flashbacks to their semi-normal lives in-between crime fighting. I also rather liked the little bit of a twist relating to Charge’s abilities. And while it’s easy to bring up Saw due to the similarities of having a deadly game, and the villain showing up on a television screen, the similarities generally end there. It feels more like a supervillain scenario than a horror movie scenario.
One other thing I found out while doing research about this movie is that nearly the entire cast was also a part of Jason Trost’s last work called the FP which looked like a hilariously awful sci-fi movie featuring a life or death game of Dance Dance Revolution, and now that I’ve seen this movie it makes me want to watch the FP even more. I wouldn’t call this movie intentionally bad by any means, I thought the actors were earnest in their delivery and the storyline was engaging without being too over the top. The biggest downside is really the budget, as most of my complaints could have been solved with a little more money. Even so, I did enjoy the movie quite a bit and I think it’s worth a watch if you like darker superhero movies and are tired of seeing the typical action packed special effects fests. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.