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The VelociPastor

USA 2018
produced by
Brandon Taylor, Jesse Gouldsbury, Brendan Steere, Jessica Yue (executive) for Hollow Tree Films, Laika Come Home
directed by Brendan Steere
starring Greg Cohan (= Gregory James Cohan), Alyssa Kempinski, Daniel Steere, Jiechang Yang, Fernando Pacheco De Castro, Aurelio Voltaire, Jesse Turits, David Sokol, George Schewnzer, Janice Young, Erik Oh, Kurt Voltmann, Douglas Saint James, Nicholas M. Garofolo, Claire Hsu, Alec Lambert, Pat Hroncich, Dan Rhoades, and as dinosaur: Zachary Steere
written by Brendan Steere, music by Ali Helnwein, D.A. McCormick, dinosaur suit by Jason Milani

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Doug (Greg Cohan) is a devout priest - until his world is shattered when his parents (George Schewnzer, Janice Young) are blown to Kingdom Come before his very eyes. So his mentor Father Stewart (Daniel Steere) suggests to Doug to make a trip to China to clear his head - which Doug does. But in China he's somehow scratched by a dragon tooth ... which he later finds out gives him extra powers - like the ability to turn into a velociraptor whenever enraged. He only finds that out back home though when he sees prostitute Carol (Alyssa Kempinski) attacked in the street, and he (as a velociraptor) killer her attacker. Needless to say, Carol is impressed and grateful, and she persuades him to as his dino-self take out bad guys - including her pimp (Fernando Pacheco De Castro). They make a good team, too, much to the dismay of Father Stewart, who at one point takes Doug to a rogue exorcist (Aurelio Voltaire) for an (you guessed it) exorcism - but that somehow backfires. Another man who's not pleased with Doug's alter ego is Wei Chan (Jiechang Yang), resident Chinese baddie, who sends his ninjas after Doug, but to little avail, as even when not a velociraptor, Doug is a skilled martial artist (and so is Carol by the way) who can take them down by the dozen. But Wei Chan isn't one to give up easily, and eventually he takes Father Stewart hostage to bait Doug in, and then injects him with some antivenom that turn him back into his human form when he's in velociraptor mode. So that should even the odds, and since Wei Chan isn't at all immune to playing dirty, Doug seems to have an uphill battle at his hands ...

 

Ok, the concept of The VelociPastor alone, coupled with the self-consciously ridiculous title, is worth gold already - after all, who wouldn't want to see the story of a priest turning into a dinosaur when enraged? But that's also the greatest danger of a concept like this, relying too much on its main attraction to make it no more than a one-trick pony. Fortunately, the makers of this movie are well aware of that and instead of just going for the cheap joke, they turn this into a full-blown parody of (mainly 1980s) direct-to-video fare, setting this in a world where everybody seems to know martial arts, ninjas seem to be lurking behind every corner, pre-CGI monsters are played by men in monstersuits (a rather good one in this movie), at least one Vietnam veteran with a tragic backstory (Father Stewart) is mandatory, and of course there's enough gore to water a medium-sized greenhouse for a year. And what makes that work is that the movie for the most part stays away from going moronic - sure, everybody's in on the joke and the movie is well aware of its own ridiculousness, but still it's played straight, giving the punchlines much more ... punch. And ok, while it might not be the greatest achievement in creature feature history - but as a party movie it's just perfect, and well worth a watch with a bunch of friends and a sixpack or two.

 

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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

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directed by
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written by
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