They Call Me Superseven
They Call Me Superseven 2016
A while back I talked with writer/producer Scott Rhodes about his webseries Superseven and he mentioned his plans to turn several episodes of that webseries into a feature length film. Well, that has happened and not only that but it will be getting some home video and online distribution early next year. I was offered a screener for review and much like the webseries it spawned from I really enjoyed it. If you haven’t heard of it, Superseven is an homage to the superhero slash spy B-movies from the 60’s, most of which I have yet to watch for myself. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and it wears its low budget on its sleeve, but is a lot of fun and worth watching when it becomes available.
One of the best things about Superseven is the man himself. Jerry Kokich really gets to the heart of the character and plays it up for all its worth. Superseven as a character is basically Adam West’s Batman, Sean Connery’s James Bond, and a game show announcer all wrapped up into one. He gives Superseven a very dry humor where he takes what he is saying completely seriously even though he looks completely ridiculous talking into his glove phone, or driving around in his tiny little spy car with a smiley face drawn in the dust of the rear windshield. The other characters work in a similar vein, Sandra West is the cocky rogue agent who has a past with Superseven. And Sparky is the childlike mechanic who spends most of her time at the secret base when she’s not fantasizing about killing West to get with Superseven.
The humor itself tends to be a little bit on the dry and subtle side. There’s rarely a moment that draws attention to the humor of the situation itself aside from a scene towards the end where Sandra is “drunk” on truth serum. Instead, it relies on your awareness of the situation and familiarity with the source material while it takes things seriously. It’s a fine line of humor in some cases that could be seen as an excuse for a low budget, but in most cases the obvious lack of budget only add to the humor. It makes a death scene that much funnier when there is an obvious lack of a blood squib combined with the slightly hammy death performance followed by a very casual call to the “Dead Spy Removal Service”. Or when there is a set comprised of acrobatic test equipment that seems to be solely as an excuse to let the stunt team do flips and longer falls. There are even moments in the film where it cuts to footage of classic B-movie footage of explosions and henchmen in evil lair sets.
One of the biggest problems with the film is the very episodic nature of it. It’s quite obvious that it was cut together from different episodes that loosely tie together but don’t really flow together all that well. There’s also a bit of an overuse of montages towards the latter half of the movie that showcase other scenes from the webseries as well as moments that we had seen earlier in this same film. It is helped slightly by the wonderful throwback scene transition that’s just a simple motion blur with a quick bongo score, but it very simply and eloquently evokes the exact right tone that gets a smile each time it comes on screen. The villains themselves also generally fall towards the weak side of things. Even when T.H.E.Y. get the upper hand, T.H.E.Y. often still feel like T.H.E.Y. just got lucky rather than any amount of actual competence. It doesn’t help that most of the villains don’t get much screen time. Only a couple of them appear in more than one act while most are just disposable minions. Thunderpussy is the biggest highlight and that’s mainly just for the amount of humor pulled from her name alone, as well as the wonderful scene where she faces off against Superseven and they exchange barbs in various different languages and subtitles.
Superseven as a film is a difficult one to give a broad recommendation to, it appeals to a very specific subset of fandoms. The humor works well, but only if you’re a fan of the source material, otherwise it generally just comes off as low budget schlock. Even with only a small amount of experience with the type of films that Superseven spoofs I had a blast with it, especially the moments with a bit more of the broad humor. Some of the scenes with Sparky went a little bit too over the top, especially with her repeated fantasies of killing Sandra West. Instead of emphasizing her unrequited love for Superseven, it veered just a little bit too far into her dark side to make her less likable as a character, especially since her regular scenes has her acting more childlike and innocent. She watches old movies, eats popcorn, and falls asleep on the couch. Aside from that it really is worth watching, either as a webseries, or when it becomes available to watch as a full length movie. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.