THE VELOCIPASTOR (2018)
Directed by Brendan Steere
Written by Brendan Steere
Starring Greg Cohan, Alyssa Kempinski, Claire Hsu, Aurelio Voltaire, Nicholas M. Garofolo, Daniel Steere, Fernando Pacheco De Castro, Jesse Turits, Alec Lambert, Kurt Voltmann, Erik Oh, Douglas Saint James, Jiechang Yang, & Zachary Steere as the Dinosaur Suit Performer!
So Troma has been in the business lately of picking up films for distribution and it’s been quite a while since there has been a straight up Troma film. Until there is, though, it’s great to see filmmakers tighten the bootstraps and churn out some good old schlocky fun. Films like THE TAINT, KUNG FURY, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, and the like have proven that despite a low budget, entertainment can be made out of the most ridiculous of concepts. Enter THE VELOCIPASTOR—a film as ridiculous and outrageous as it gets!
Pastor Doug Jones (Greg Cohan) is a priest who has lost his way. After being encouraged to walk the earth to find his purpose, he finds himself in China (which looks a lot like Central Park) and in possession of an ancient dragon claw which imbues him with the ability to turn himself into a dinosaur. Overcome by a deep hunger, Doug decides to fill the void with the bodies of criminals and sinners. With some help from Carol (Alyssa Kempinski) a hooker with a heart of gold, Doug tries to find love and peace with his new powers. Also he fights ninjas.
Reminiscent in plot and execution of the original THE TOXIC AVENGER, THE VELOCIPASTOR works because it commits to the bit. Everyone knows this is a ridiculous concept, but everyone is playing it straight as an arrow. That’s what makes all of the jokes land securely on their own two feet. Cohan and Kempinski seem to be competent actors and attempt to tell a serious love story, but everyone in front of and behind the screen seem to know that this is such a ludicrous concept. There are extended dramatic moments of a lingering camera that doesn’t seem to know when to cut away, lengthened laughing fits (which happen to fit into the story quite nicely), and unnecessary flashbacks from multiple characters. It’s the type of nonsense that is conscious of the type of action film it is mocking, but never really makes fun of it. More accurately, it pays homage in an infectiously comical way to these action movie tropes.
One could easily toss THE VELOCIPASTOR aside as rubbish if not for the fact that there are some very talented people behind the scenes. Brendan Steere does a fantastic job of editing the film to only suggest the makeshift monster in the beginning, then pulls back for the final fight to show this man in a dinosaur suit battling badly trained ninjas. There are quite a few musical montages that again are expertly framed with multiple scenes in one frame. Specifically, the love making scene is hilariously sappy.
The comedy in THE VELOCIPASTOR aren’t the clunkers one expects from a Troma-esque film. They actually made me laugh out loud multiple times. Props go out to Fernando Pacheco De Castro who plays the pimp Frankie Mermaid…because he’s swimming in bitches! This film has a firm grip on its comedy and timing, paving the way for some outstanding scenes that will make you snort and chortle your heads off. Surprisingly well made and wildly entertaining, THE VELOCIPASTOR is an intoxicatingly fun mix of horror, action, and comedy. It’s well worth your time if you miss those obnoxious and irreverent days of Troma.