Will the saga of this transforming priest become the next campy cult classic? Only time will tell…
In a filmic landscape that has spawned Toxic Avengers, Sharknados and multiple attacks by killer tomatoes, among others, it’s a tough order to come up with a concept that’s intentionally campy yet unique enough that it can potentially accumulate its own cult.
So writer-director Brendan Steere did his best to find the sweet spot with
VelociPastor, featuring a priest named Doug Jones (Gregory James Cohan), who gains the power to morph into a dinosaur to mete out holy and bloody vengeance against the criminal element of the city where he serves.
If you look at the poster art and are expecting a Jurassic Park-style CGI raptor as depicted, you aren’t gonna get it. If you are expecting a highly trained cadre of deadly ninjas throwing shurikens and doing highly coordinated trampoline stunts, you aren’t gonna get that.
But if you want a mulleted murderous pimp with a combover, you’ll get it.
If you want a flick rated X by the Christian Film Board, you’ll get it.
If you want a gratuitous Vietnam War monologue and a training montage interspersed with multiple dinosaur attacks and Christian iconography that is set to punk rock music, you’ll get it.
If you want the same section of woods to stand in for Pennsylvania, China and Vietnam, you’ll get it.
If you want sinister villains who fail miserably at laughing sinisterly simultaneously, you’ll get it.
If you want a makeout montage with enhanced lighting, modern rock background music and flashbacks to the film so far leading into coitus interruptus interruptused by ninjas, you’ll get it.
And there’s a dinosaur fighting ninjas and …
- Best Nexus of Internal Conflict: Doug, the VelociPastor himself, who initially can’t believe he has received the ability to transform: “Dinosaurs never existed and even if they did, I don’t transform into one,” and then who renounces his priestly duties in favor of …
- The Best Product of the American Educational System: Carol (Alyssa Kempinski) is not only pre-law and pre-med and putting herself through school by working as a prostitute, but she’s also a kung-fu expert and can backhand a ninja or five while realizing, matter-of-factly “There’s surprisingly little demand for hooker-doctor-lawyers.”
- Best Bad Guy Who Should Come Back as a Cyborg for the Inevitable Sequel: Frankie Mermaid (Fernando Pacheco de Castro) turns out to be the one who was responsible for the great tragedy in Doug’s life, treats his prostitutes with the upmost respect “Hey, Jeri, if you stuffed d—- in your mouth like that sandwich, I’d be a millionaire by now,” mouths off to the clergy and smokes where he wants to because “his life is on fire.”
- Best Reason for Being the Way He Is: Father Stewart (Daniel Steere), Doug’s mentor, suffered the tragic loss of his best friend Ali (David Sokol, who had the fun Nam monologue) and his fiancée in the same neck of the woods in Vietnam. So it is no wonder that his words of comfort after Doug’s personal tragedy are “So your parents died, Doug. It’s what parents do — they die on you. They’re in a better place,” and “Everything happens for a reason. Here, drink some more wine.”
- Best Sibling Rivalry: When Doug’s brother (Jesse Turits) vows that he “will not stain the sword of my ancestors with your blood,” which means he was adopted, maybe?
- Best Use of Artistic Dissonance: The interlude where the triumphant and blood-covered VelociPastor holds the severed head of one of the vanquished enemies aloft as a quote from Gandhi is put on the screen.
Three and a half stars – I had to give the half-star deduction for no garbonzas (it’s a harsh world, I know) and, to be sure, you have to be in a certain frame of mind to watch this one and get absolute enjoyment — a Texas or Colorado state of mind might add that missing half-star to the rating depending on the individual.