3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2014
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 41 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:

In the future, corporate espionage has taken a more violent turn. When an anti-aging serum is developed, the IO corporation sets a pair of hitmen (Christian Lagadec and Jerry Bell Jr.) to the task of retrieving the serum from the doctor (Bruce Jennings), before the formula for the serum can be obtained by anyone else. Things go awry, however, and the serum ends up in the hands of Natalie (Ari Montgomery) and her drug-dealing boyfriend (Rhyan Schwartz), who unwittingly become the new targets of the hitmen as they go about trying to profit off their discovery.

Eric Waetjen’s Ambrosia delivers an exciting sci-fi tale that is reminiscent of some of the better episodic fare out there; its structure and pacing rivals, and is often times better, than much of what we do see on television. That said, the biggest rub with this short film is running time.

At roughly thirty-six minutes of actual story and content (the remaining minutes made up of credits), the film doesn’t quite match the standard for a commercial-friendly episode of “hour long” television. While the running time doesn’t terribly impact enjoyment of the film itself, because it does play like a quality episode of the kind of show you’d see on SyFy, I don’t know what you do with this film after the fact. It’s not film fest programming-friendly, so is it more of a calling card for the filmmakers?

If so, you could do far worse. While I would’ve liked more character development, or a reason to care about any of the characters at all, I still went along for the ride and enjoyed myself. The acting can be a little stiff in spots, or otherwise questionable, but overall works. The digital effects and production design are more than up to snuff, again, for what we see as a standard on television nowadays. It’s an action-packed, exciting and fun film to watch. If I were trying to decide on whether the filmmaker could handle directing a similar-style show, this would convince me they could.

In the end, I don’t know where a film like this ends up, but if you’ve got a taste for sci-fi and can hunt this one down, you likely won’t be disappointed. I’d like to see what the filmmakers can do with either a more constrained running time limitation (make a short film that is actually short), or with the proper ideas and resources to deliver a straight-up feature. I think the filmmaking chops are all there, and we can expect even better films down the line. Or at least some quality episodes of TV.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

Posted on June 21, 2014 in Reviews by

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