After you have reviewed a few independent films, I’m on over 120 and counting, you get used to the strictures enforced by a low budget. You only have a limited amount of money, so where do you spend it or, more importantly, where do you save it. We are all used to big budget films which can spend the typical budget of an independent film just to change the eye colour of one of the leads or make someone’s hairline a bit more flattering. This is why I like independent films…seeing how they get around the budget limitations! It’s also why I grade them quite leniently.
Where are they cutting the costs? Casts? Will there be a name you recognise? Effects? Can you see that the explosion was added afterwards? Props? Are they driving around in scrap heap Metros or forecourt Ferraris? Locations? Are they driving past Buck House or is it a small village in the arse end of nowhere? It’s hard to say which is the best or worst to cut back on. Apart from story. That is a must! If there is no interest in a story then, as has been shown before, there is absolutely no point in watching a film…unless you need a dark place to go for a snooze.
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Money’s Too Tight To Mention
More often than not, the first place to make savings is in the casting. I mean, when your budget is around $100,000, you don’t start banging on Tom Cruise, Will Smith, or Leonardo DiCaprio’s door. Well…not if you’re actively looking for someone to take your lead. So, seeing as how the posted budget is in the $4 million region, you don’t expect to see many names that you’d heard of. I have to say that I was surprised! Very, very surprised indeed!
If I were to say Lee Majors, Danny Trejo, Ian Ogilvy, Patsy Kensit, Stephanie Beacham, Louis Mandylor, Paul Barber, and Tom Lister Jr (aka Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister) then you would probably say something along the lines of “Oh, wow! I remember them from…” something embedded in your past. I’ll be honest…The Six Million Dollar Man, Martial Law, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Saint, Holby City, and Only Fools And Horses all sprang to my mind! And for good reason! Leading actors from all of those had good sized parts in Renegades not just “Who’s this on FaceTime?” type roles.
Have I Seen This Before?
So what is Renegades all about? I’ll be honest, if you’ve seen The Wild Geese, The Expendables, and Harry Green you’ll know what’s going on. A group of old guys have a problem thrust upon them and they need to take action. Fortunately for them they are all former special forces; they may be old but they are tough. They initially met in a support group to help with PTSD but they become close friends. When one is killed trying to protect his daughter, the rest step in and, well, resolve the problem.
All in all, Renegades is an entertaining piece of cinema. There are no real surprises with the plot and resolution. Some of the performances are of “just phoning it in to get the cheque” but, given that the majority of the main cast are well past retirement age, maybe that’s not so surprising. The poor quality SFX and background music are the greatest casualties of budget paucity. Ignoring a few minor niggles, British police aren’t routinely armed nor can they afford that level of facial enhancement, this was a fun adventure with a lot of famous faces and reasonably shot action.
Movie Grade: B-
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!