Monday, April 13, 2020

The VelociPastor (2019)

Streaming Service: Amazon Prime Video
Movie Name/Year: The VelociPastor (2019)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Horror
Length:  75 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/DistributionCyfuno Ventures, Hollow Tree Films, Laika Come Home, Wild Eye Releasing 
Director: Brendan Steere
Writer: Brendan Steere
Actors: Alyssa Kempinski, Greg Cohan, Aurelio Voltaire, Daniel Steere, Fernando Pacheco De Castro, Jesse Turits, David Sokol, George Schewnzer, Zachary Steere, Jiechang Yang, Alec Lambert, Douglas Saint James, Kurt Voltmann, Dan Rhoades, Pat Hroncich, Erik Oh, Janice Young, Claire Hsu, Nicholas M. Garofolo

Blurb from IMDb: After losing his parents, a priest travels to China, where he inherits a mysterious ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur. At first horrified by this new power, a hooker convinces him to use it to fight crime. And ninjas.

Selina’s Point of View:
I went into this film with the wrong mindset. I thought it was going to be a B-movie creature feature. I thought it’d be like something made by The Asylum. I expected it to be bad but opened myself to the idea that it could be so bad it was good.

This was not that.

There’s one step lower than bad B-movie that doesn’t get talked about a lot. That step includes intentionally bad movies.

Intentionally bad movies don’t care about budget or acting. It’s all about getting the laugh at any and all costs. They will use obvious paper-mache costumes, they’ll extra-pixelate any CGI, the script will be made as cringey as possible, anything to make it ‘worse’. The best way I can think of to explain the quality of an intentionally bad movie is to bring up Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988-1999). The movies they make fun of in that show touch on the quality of something like this film – only this kind of movie does it on purpose.

I find it very difficult to rate a movie like this. I can’t rate it against mainstream movies because that’s not what it is. That’s not even what it’s trying to be. On the other hand, I can’t really rate it against your typical B-movies, because it doesn’t fit that category either. It’s not even really a parody. So, why not just only rate it against other intentionally bad movies? Others might, but I don’t see enough of them. It’s not just that they’re not really my taste, but I also don’t have the time, or access, to see more of them.

The only way to really rate a film like this, for me, is to consider whether or not it got the laugh. It really becomes a pass or fail situation for me.

The VelociPastor succeeded at getting the laugh some of the time, but not all the time. I wouldn’t rate it as high as The Gamers: Dorkness Rising (2008), but it wasn’t bad for what it was. I don’t think I could have watched more than an hour of it though.

Final thought: If you like bad movies – really, truly, bad movies – then go for it. If you primarily watch a film for quality, though, this isn’t for you.

Cat’s Point of View:

Perspective is everything. This is one of the most important things to remember if you’re even remotely considering watching The VelociPastor.

This is exactly the sort of ludicrous movie that the internet adores. A social media friend of mine encouraged me to watch this movie few months ago. I had seen the title on Prime Video and had given it a head-cocked confused look as I’d passed it by once before, so I thought: Why not? Why not, indeed.

I’ll be honest, my first attempt at watching this movie at that time was not successful. This was partly due to the fact that it was an insomnia-fueled decision and I finally succumbed to exhaustion in the middle of it. I really only remembered chunks of it after-the-fact and my take-away was ultimately on the negative side. I just didn’t get it.

Needless to say, I wasn’t the most excited person in the world when this film came up for our review. I’m generally the kind to ‘take one for the team’ when it comes to our reviews, however, so I was prepared to suck it up and give it another chance.

Then there came an epiphany.  I was encouraged to consider that it was made as a bad movie – on purpose. I had a face-palm moment as everything (at least about this movie) suddenly made sense.
My fully lucid second viewing of the film was an entirely different experience from the first.

It was still hokey, the budget was still clearly visible as bargain-bin, the camera work was spazzy, and the performances terrible – but it was actually rather funny as I recognized that it was intentionally so. I think the only thing that would have made it more perfectly over-the-top is if they shot it in black and white for a faux film noir feel.


As one that is often encouraging others to look for that silver lining and the glass-half-full scenario, I found it ironic that I was stuck in the frame of mind that the production team was taking themselves seriously. Of course, they were – they were serious about producing something wacky and insane to give a good laugh. 

Then I had a good cackle when I realized why the character Altair was so familiar. Voltaire (ABCs of Death 2, Dead West, ReAgitator: Revenge of the Parody) was a staple performer presence at Dragon Con during the years my husband and I attended as volunteer staff on a regular basis. This sort of project is right up his alley, and his character didn’t disappoint here.

I guess I owe an apology to Brendan Steere (Dead by Dawn, Monster! or the Re-Dead, Animosity) for misunderstanding his mad genius.

Even so, this sort of movie isn’t for everyone. If you easily get caught in the same headspace I was in the first time I tried to watch it, this isn’t going to be something you would likely enjoy. If you’re in a mood to fly by the seat of your pants and find ways to giggle to alleviate some of the stir crazy cabin fever that’s abounding these days, I’d say give it a go.

Ultimately, I was entertained. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 54%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 69%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.2/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – Pass
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5

Trust the Dice Parental Advisory Rating: R

Movie Trailer:

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