Vanguard // R // $19.95 // September 30, 2003
Review by Don Houston | posted November 5, 2003
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Movie: Cult movies achieve such status based on a number of factors; be it timing, interesting concepts, or simply striking a chord with enough fanatic people at a given time (these are but a few of the factors). A great many independent movie makers hope to score such status as it can lead to future financial backing, a loyal fan base to exploit, or even the keys to a major Hollywood project (not to mention the initial financial rewards). I saw a movie earlier this week, Narcosys, that may have stumbled upon cult status by virtue of it's obscure nature more than anything else.

The movie is set in 2018. Governments are mostly a thing of the past, with giant corporations filling the void. The largest such corporation, the IT corporation (Itco), pays it's employees with mind altering drugs which has become the default equivalent of cash in this nightmarish future where life has little value and a police state exists (and is controlled by the company). In order to consolidate it's market position, Itco has flooded the street with a drug containing a deadly virus in order to kill off its competition. With pockets of rebellious gangs resisting control, Itco sends in an undercover agent, Matrix (Mia Kate Russell), to find sources of untainted drugs (that prevent the company from completely taking over). She is a violator under a death sentence and has little choice but to cooperate (the theme of people being controlled by a larger organization is common in movies-think Blade Runner, Escape From New York, Logan's Run and others) or she'll face the consequences.

The gang she infiltrates is run by a physically imposing crazy, Metro (Todd James), who runs the gang with an iron fist. Metro has no problem killing anyone who gets in his way or simply irritates him in the slightest in his search for the next score. The other two members of the gang are Sintax (Matt Trihey), a wannabe punk, and Candy (Renee Brennan), the bimbo who'll do anything to please the men. They pillage the countryside, raiding underground clubs and corporate depositories in order to get the latest, greatest highs. As the stakes get higher with each raid, can the quartet survive as Itco operatives aggressively hunt them down? Will Matrix be uncovered by Metro? Will the body count reach new highs? Those are but a few of the questions the movie presents to the viewer.

No one is going to realistically suggest this movie had a big budget, a linear story, or made perfect sense to anyone not on drugs but that might make it a prime candidate to obtain cult status too. It was set in Australia, much like a fan favorite from years gone by, Mad Max, it had large amounts of ultra-violence, a bunch of techno-babble and funny words (cult status sometimes derives from geeks who want to use such lingo in an attempt to feel superior to others who aren't "in the know"), and the core theme was to defy authority. If marketed properly, I could see this one appealing to a limited group of people (AKA: punks) that are into fetish clothing, mass murder, and drugs. As such, I'm going to rate it as a Rent It for those looking for something way off the beaten track. Don't expect excellent acting, special effects, or a coherent story but it did have an interesting soundtrack on top of some thought provoking themes.

Picture: The picture was presented in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. Due to the subject matter, it was very dark (most scenes were shot at night) and the grain was very high here. Further, the stylish visual effects made it difficult to understand much of what was going on. In short, it looked low budget but that look might well appeal to skinheads and others on the fringe of modern day society.

Sound: The audio was presented in 5.1 surround sound English but there wasn't a lot of separation going on outside of the techno-music track. You could generally hear what the cast was saying, even if you couldn't understand them, and the music was sometimes kind of cool.

Extras: None-no trailer as advertised and no paper insert.

Final Thoughts: If you want to see the mad ramblings of director/producer Mark Bakaitis, combined with the twisted writing of Adam Breasley, along with a host of anti-authority messages, you may really appreciate Narcosys. I'm convinced drug addicts (or maybe even recreational users) will like the show but I think an audio commentary would've gone a long way to explaining what was going on in depth, aside from my guesswork. If you want a roller coaster ride of twisted imagery, check this one out.

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