Redboy 13 Movie Review

Indie filmmaker Marcus van Bavel may not have a knack for catchy titles, but he certainly has a flair for spoofing the big-budget spy genre on what must have been a low six-figure budget.

Redboy 13 pays homage to Dr. Strangelove, Full Metal Jacket, Dirty Harry, Mission: Impossible, Rambo, and, most importantly, the James Bond films. Hell, if it wasn't for Austin Powers, Rwers, Redboy 13 would be the first real spy spoof to come along in a while.

Especially considering its humble origins in the backwoods of Texas, it's a damn good one. Er... a gosh darn good one, as Colonel Calcan (Logan) would say. Set in the waning days of the Cold War, Redboy 13 is the story of a 13-year old boy (Roy-Brown) who is trained to be a top agent for a splinter group of the U.S. government called the C.Y.A. Under the supervision of Calcan, Redboy is sent to Central America to overthrow a military regime... when he returns, he'll be "the biggest hero since Ollie North." There's even a big Bondian opening credits sequence with silhouettes, grandiose vocalizing, etc.

Redboy 13 plays it straight all the way, with the exception of van Bavel's appearance(s) in the film as three supporting characters, a la Peter Sellers in Strangelove (one of the characters is even a wheelchair-bound mad scientist whose allegiance is with Nazi Germany). In fact, if van Bavel didn't look so frighteningly like shock filmmaker John Waters, one might be tempted to take Redboy 13 at face value.

Tempted, but impossible. A darling of the festival circuit, Redboy 13 is shot in 35mm Cinemascope, has dozens of computer-generated effects (they look kinda cheesy, but hey, this is an indie pic), and only really suffers during some hammy acting that wanders into Leslie Nielsen territory a few times. But in the end, van Bavel's assured technical direction and clever photography make Redboy 13 eminently watchable.

A mountain of jokes don't hurt, either.

Redboy takes aim.


Comments

Redboy 13 Rating

" Good "

Rating: NR, 1998

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