Saturday, July 9, 2016

Short Film Spotlight: RADIUS

Welcome back to another installment of SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT.  This week, we take a look at the sci-fi short film...RADIUS.
Radius is a 2004 sci-fi short film starring Matt McCoy, Catalina Larranaga, Michael Yavnielli and Paul Logan. The plot of the movie centers on a seemingly unthreatening recon space craft that is actually carrying a deadly bomb known as a ‘Cratermaker’. Only the ship’s pilot, Mariella Dain (Catalina Larranaga) and copilot Kyle know the bomb is on the ship and what their real mission is. When the recon ship crashes on the planet where a key power center of the enemy, known as the ‘Gemini’, is, Dain must activate the ‘Cratermaker’. Then Dain, her second in command Crim (Matt McCoy) and the crew, must run for their lives to a designated extraction point to be picked up by a transport ship before the 30 minute count down ends in a massive explosion. To stop the ‘Cratermaker’ from destroying their power center the Gemini unleash their most powerful weapon, ‘The Diamone’ (Paul Logan); an energy weapon in human form capable of splitting into twins. One ‘twin’ hunts down the crew while the other is sent to stop the bomb.
Radius has a very promising premise and some really talented actors in the key roles, however the movie falls short of that promise in several ways. The opening sequence is a transmission from Dain to an unseen the military base informing them that she has located the Gemini power center. The problem is, that the special sound effects crew are so busying making this this look and sound garbled that you don’t really know what she is saying unless you watch the ‘making of’ features.  From there the movie suddenly drops the viewer into a chaotic scene of the recon ship being under attack by the enemy.  It leaves the viewer feeling like they somehow came in on the middle of the movie instead of the beginning. Once the ship crashes, Kyle the co-pilot, and enemy spy, tries to disable the bomb before it can be activated. Dain kills him, then she arms the bomb.
At the Gemini base, the leaders, in an effort to stop the crew and the bomb, unleash their powerful energy weapon, ‘The Diamone’ to kill the crew and disarm the bomb. ‘The Diamone’ is supposedly the one thing that can shield their power station from attacking enemy ships. Yet they leave the power center vulnerable to attack by sending ‘The Diamone’, in human form, out to chase after the bomb and the crew instead of leaving it as whole energy to protect the power center.

Radius stretches out it’s already thin plotline by inserting scenes of ‘The Diamone’ in its twin forms running towards it’s opposite objectives and of the crew frantically trying to evade one twin and get to the extraction point alive before the ‘Cratermaker’ explodes. ‘Radius’ often feels like there were scenes missing that would have given the movie more cohesion and better served what is a very interesting premise.
Radius has a few good plot twists along the way, but the movie’s main saving grace comes in the form of the characters and the actors chosen for the parts. John Clarke, the writer of Radius makes up for in character development what was lacking in overall plot content.  Even the most disposable of the characters in the crew were given personality quirks and depth which made the interaction scenes more believable.  The actors also play a key part in taking these characters to the best level possible.
Michael Yavnielli as Vesay the crew member who is out for himself only brings a believable sense of that mercenary quality that role; enough so that you don’t feel a bit sorry for him when he meets his fate
Veteran actor Matt McCoy as Crim, the second in command, effortlessly takes this character through the stages of anger at being unaware of the mission to the realization of having the courage to make the ultimate sacrifice. Catalina Larranaga as Dain, the pilot, makes you believe she is one tough soldier on a mission. She gives Dain such a strong presence that you see and feel the character’s determination and commitment to the cause. Actor and mixed martial artist, Paul Logan as ‘The Diamone’ has very little dialog in this movie, but he doesn’t need it. Through sheer physical presence and body language alone, he brings to life the raw power of ‘The Diamone’ and radiates the intense hatred the creature has for the humans it is hunting down.
If you get a chance to watch Radius I say go for it and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the movie.

Marla’s Score: 4/10

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