12 Days Of Dino Dicember #13: The Velocipastor (2018)

After teasing it in mentions before, it’s time to properly sit down and confess your sins to The Velocipastor. After all, “he’s a man of claw”, as boasted by the tagline poster.

This sounds like they came up with the title first and made the movie based on that, but it doesn’t even matter anyone, this isn’t even a valid joke anymore to make at these movies, i’m aware of that.

We’re past that, and so were already when The Velocipastor released through the power of internet curiosity for the new “bad movie of the week” sensation able to make people talk about it by the virtue of the title and a trailer that encapsulated the modern breed of poverty produced movies that wanted to be so bad it’s good because they knew an actual audience for it existed, and online film buffs willing to “surprise” themselves upon discovering the next worst thing ever to actually exist.

This isn’t a dig at the movie itself, it’s just that this modern strain of shit movies filmed with no budgets are made by and for audiences that are in on the joke, or actively search for them, so it’s a completely different situation from when people made crap like Video Violence in their backyards, slapped it on a VHS store shelf in America during the mid 80s, and nobody at large talked about them until decades later, because almost nobody knew these kind of films even existed.

And then again, most of the technical flaws were often obviously borne of the production having no budget or means to do anything even vaguely resembling “a real movie” in their neck of the woods.

I say this because in many ways The Velocipastor leans into the territory of self-aware-yet-still-doing-it-anyways bad movie convenctions, immediatly too, by having a “vfx of car of fire” written in text instead of showing the car on fire, or having establishing titles that farcically say in big ass letters stuff like “CHINA”, when it’s clearly some random non-descript slice of woods.

Or having the chinese woman put on a rice hat and dying while leaving a fortune cookie to the main character she stumbled upon… oh wait, it’s not a fortune cookie, it’s a fang, i guess a dragon fang, only for him to be targeted by ninja archers. Of course, ninjas, because ninjas, there’s on the poster, might as well be in the actual movie, why not? And people love 80’s cinema throwback, they do.

Before going on, we might as well talk about the plot of “The Velocipastor”.

If the title didn’t give away that’s about a priest that becomes a were-velociraptor by accident, but then decides to use his newfound ability/power to kill muggers, avenge his dead parents, protect prostitutes from pimps…and fight (with the help of her kung fu fighting hooker partner) a posse of drug dealing Christian radical ninjas, etc. I mean, this sounds like it should be a classic with the “Tarantino Presents” stamp of exploitation cinema approval.

And it kinda is, because while it does the “self-aware/farcical” thing in most cases, with some jokes and gags not being original or that great…. The Velocipastor manages to show some genuine effort and passion in doing it, it doesn’t feel cynically constructed, has actually some cinematic ambition from the director’s part, and ISN’T using his own self declared incompetence to deflect any critique.

As in, not only this movie has some moxie, but actually manages to have actual jokes and be actually funny, which is often what these ridiculous movies want to be rarely are, since they’re too preoccupied on being bad on purpose, regardless if the result has actual comedy or just parrots things without understanding why and how they work.

The Velocipastor – for a change – embraces its own silliness the right way, meaning it knows what it is but still puts noticeable effort in making it all work by playing the tone still kinda serious, especially in some dramatic scenes, but still able to play the premise for fun without being grating about it or begging you to have any reaction to it, like pausing so you can screenshot a weird ass moment that most likely will be used out of context to make you think the movie it’s funny, wakcy or anything cynically manipulative like that.

I can’t stress enough how surprised i was when the movie just had the gall to actually drop some funny exchanges and actually crafted jokes that weren’t just random shitty ad lib (like the notably awful Trump impersonation overdone in Jurassic Thunder, we’ll get to that later down the line this month), like when the younger priest is consoling the younger pastor of his parents’ sudden demise, and saying shit like “That’s what parents do, they die on you”. XD

There’s surprisingly plenty of well delivered deliberately awkward lines like that, or stuff like how the older priest decides that bringing the “possessed” young pastor to an exorcist it’s a good enough excuse to hijack the narrative and show us his “’Nam flashbacks”. XD

The (mostly) caucasian ninjas, too, while lacking the yellow, pink or turquoise colored garbs (and the “alignment bandanas”), do feel like they come out of a 80s Godfrey Ho ninja flick, since they also are entlanged in many generic crimes tied to the main story of the young pastor becoming a dinosaurs after touching an artifact from China.

Even the second-in-command evil ninja gives off Pierre Tremblay vibes.

In terms of budgets, it’s low, but i’ll say this: we’re definitely a step above the usual homegrown cinema standards in terms of effects.

Just the claw props alone are alreadybetter than anything Mark Polonia crafted, to say nothing of the full “dinosaur suit” at the end, goofy as shit but hilarious AND actually a huge step up in budget than the norm for “homegrown genre cinema”, and oddly there’s little to no relying on digital shit.

Yes, often movies coming from this strata of DIY filmakers with no budgets end up being unsufferably bad even if they’re made with some effort to it, so passion is no guarantee of quality, but earnest, sincere effort like the one palpable here already makes quite the difference, and while the acting it’s amateur hour (it is), it’s surprisingly okay for this kind of movie, i was almost flabbergasted by realizing that the actors were nowhere as bad as you would assume.

It’s honestly rewarding to see one of these cheap dinosaur films from homegrown directors/producers/actors that actually wants to be fun in itself, not just as fodder for riffing jokes.

yeah, it’s stupid, being so deliberatly, but unlike many of these it will actually make you crack a smile and laugh with its stupidity, instead of inciting frustrated bored groans.

Even if the gags aren’t all stellar, there is this earnest, embraced goofiness to it that’s hard to really get mad at the film. Especially since director/producer/editor Brendan Streere had the inusual good sense of keeping it short and not riddle the movie with padding to reach the “industry standard runtime”, so it’s exactly as long as it needs to be, 70 minutes.

This ain’t no Micheal Cimino opus, after all.

Sure, there’s little budget, but i can see a film like this fine, there’s something to work upon in the future, to hone, which i can rarely say for many of these movie and their directors.

Overall, i find The Velocipastor to be a surprisingly enjoyable entry in this new strain of “low budget absurdorama” genre cinema, it’s a very cute z-movie, kind of adorable, honestly. Wouldn’t mind a sequel with even more fun exploitation shit thrown in.

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