Director: Jason Trost (2011)
Starring: James Remar, Jason Trost, Sophie Merkley, Lucas Till
Find it: IMDB
A movie I read about on CHUD.com years ago (as far back as 2011) and immediately became obsessed with. It's Saw with superheroes, starring Dexter's own dad, James Remar. Unsurprisingly, it didn't take long for this violent spandex movie called All Superheroes Must Die to become one of my most hotly anticipated in recent years.
Charge, Cutthroat (Till), Shadow (Merkley) and The Wall (Lee Valmassy) are trapped in a small, deserted town, surrounded by Rickshaw's goons and hostages. Try to escape: the hostages die and the town goes up in smoke. The only way to win out is through a series of challenges; each more dangerous and vicious than the last, with ever increasing stakes. It's like Arkham City, but without Batman's gadgets, elegance or competence. It helps Rickshaw's plan in that Charge and his friends are a bunch of imbeciles who get pretty much every civilian they encounter killed. The Wall is the only one of them with a good superhero name and they all speak like stupid children attempting a Superman impression.
Hi! You might recognise me as the only one having any fun around here.
It's like Kick-Ass crossed with The Running Man, with James Remar in the overacting Nicolas Cage/Jesse Ventura role. Seeing as only one of the youths is any good (that'll be Merkley) it's good that Remar is there to distract from all of the sullen sub-Spider-man "power and responsibility" type posturing. He's given disappointingly little to do, but he has a nice cravat and seems to be enjoying himself.
The rest of the film fails to live up to most of those expectations I built up reading about it on CHUD and various news websites over the years. Much of that is probably my fault, but it's effectively a Saw rip-off with people in crap superhero costumes instead of arrogant doctors and overly obsessed police officers. With its hard violence, unlikeable characters and cynical attitude towards superheroism, it could have been a Mark Millar adaptation.
And no-one wants that*
But for all of its flaws, All Superheroes Must Die is an enjoyable action romp, with an engaging story and very interesting concept. It could have been so much better, but as far as low-budget DVD releases go, it's a cut above most. It's certainly better than bloody zombies or Hillbillies again.
*Except for Mark Millar