Blu-ray/DVD, Entertainment, Reviews

“Sparks” Noir Action Thriller

SPARKS boxart 1

 

Surprisingly good, the film Sparks offers crime drama mixed with comedy and a superhero script. Now on DVD the film takes you into a world of Science Fiction where humans with special powers are wrecking the bad guys. Although reminiscent of Kick-Ass as the film features a vigilante spirit from ordinary citizens wearing superhero costumes, Sparks’ heroes really have super powers.  It’s like having the best of both worlds in this science fiction illusion about street warriors that really kicks-ass.

An anomaly caused by the after effect of a meteor strike in 1920 rural New York causes several people to possess super human powers.  Hiding their abilities the parents do not tell their children.  Now 28 years later and accused of being a serial killer in LA Ian Sparks (Chase Williamson) tells his story to the editor of the LA Chronicle. He finds he possesses fighting powers and finds himself easily overpowering thugs and thieves.  At the scene of a crime he meets Lady Heavenly (Ashley Bell) a female who works her muscle, speed and agility against criminals.

Ashley Bell as Heavenly and Chase Williamson as Ian Sparks
Ashley Bell as Heavenly and Chase Williamson as Ian Sparks

The two fall in love and team up to take on the city’s gangs and kingpins. On one occasion they come across the results of a brutal killing by Matanza (William Katt), a never caught serial killer.  They follow Matanza to his hideout and he captures them torturing Heavenly and releasing Sparks to recover from being drugged. Finding him at the scene of the crime, they accuse Sparks of being a copycat serial killer. Searching out the real killer he teams up with Cane (Esteban Cueto) who uses fire as a weapon, Dawn (Marina Squerciati) an identity shifter and Sledge (Jake Busey) a strong man and the three go after Matanza.

Ashley Bell as Heavenly in action
Ashley Bell as Heavenly in action

The low budget film pulls off a good story making it likable and fun to watch.  Under the directors Christopher Folino and Todd Burrows keeps the film moves along at a good clip with a good amount of action mixed with comedy/drama. The two know how to handle their cast and they get very good performances out of them.  The special effects are good and do the job nicely when needed.  They bring back a bit of nostalgia as well presenting their film like the  crime noir stories of old similar to “The Maltese Falcon”, “Dick Tracy” and “Chinatown”.

The DVD has a very good extra that shows the “Making of Sparks”.  Why it’s important to budding filmmakers is the content that lays out how this low budget film was made to look like a big hit.  The movie is based on a comic book with the same title and the writer of the graphic novel William Kat plays a central figure in the movie.  Kat and the directors Christopher Folino and Todd Burrows with some of the cast members relate their experiences.

The disc also has a couple of outtakes that are quite funny.  You can turn on the commentary by William Katt, Folino and Todd Burrows after you have seen the movie the first time through.  They are very good with their descriptions of what, where, why and when on the film’s production.  Again, if you are interested in writing a script or making a film as a project, this would be a very good tool.

The DVD has very good quality of presentation with clear and clean sound.  The film has a 1940’s theme with a muted look and this comes across very nicely.  All the dialogue can be heard without interference and the colors are bright and sharp.

Sparks has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains violence, adult situations and language. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children see the film as it does have some scenes that are inappropriate for adolescents

Specifications and additional film information:
Cast: Chase Williamson, Ashley Bell, Clancy Brown, Clint Howard, Jake Busey, Esteban Cueto and William Katt
Directors: Christopher Folino and Todd Burrows
MPAA Rating: Unrated, contains violence and language
Genre: Action, Crime Thriller
Running Time: 1 hr 38 min    
Video Release Date: March 18, 2014
Language: English
Format: DVD
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Widescreen HD 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Subtitles: None
Number of Discs: 1 Disc
Distributed by: RLJ/One Village Entertainment

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 10 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com