Just when I was thinking nothing more could be done with the post-apocalyptic genre, director Lowell Dean (WolfCop) comes along with the insane thrill-ride that is SuperGrid! In a world where post-apocalyptic features are a dime a dozen, SuperGrid is a much appreciated breath of fresh air! Dean and crew are back with all the violence, practical effects, and dark humor that we've come to expect from them.
Filmed on location in Saskatchewan, SuperGrid is set in the near future where constant fracking has turned Canada into a wasteland that's frequently shaken by tremors. A face-melting "black plague" of sorts that turns people into deranged lepers ravages the land. Two brothers, Jesse and Deke, played by Leo Fafard and Marshall William respectively, are forced out onto the dangerous "Grid," where they must travel the same dangerous road that claimed their sister's life. Their quest, to retrieve and deliver mysterious cargo for a power hungry, gang lord named Lazlo, masterfully portrayed by Jonathan Cherry. Along the way, they'll face highway pirates, rebel gangs, and the death of their sister that drove them apart.
Some may make the mistake of labeling SuperGrid as a Mad Max: Fury Road clone and they couldn't be more wrong. Yes, there's a dangerous road and there's important cargo that everybody wants to get their hands on, but with all due respect to Fury Road, SuperGrid packs much more of an emotional punch. This alone makes the film stand out from the apocalyptic thrillers that are flooding the cinematic market these days. I cared for the brothers, I cared for their mission, and I felt a connection to the storyline that T.R. McCauley and Justin Ludwig skillfully crafted. As expected from an apocalyptic film, SuperGrid also features pedal to the metal action and plenty of violence for good measure. There's a solid mix of practical and digital effects, and though I'm usually a stickler for practical effects, the special effects look fantastic as a whole. Cinematographer Michael Jari Davidson also deserves a shoutout, as this is a beautifully shot film.
In terms of acting, Leo Fafard (Lou Garou in WolfCop) delivers a show stealing performance and continues to impress me as one of Canada's best actors. Marshall Williams does an admirable job playing the younger brother who's tormented by his criminal past. The two actors work extremely well with one another and wonderfully craft a believable brotherly bond. Fafard and Williams are backed up by a great supporting cast including William Jason Reso (former WWE superstar Christian), who plays the enigmatic King Kurtis and guards the US-Canada border, Natalie Krill as North, Jesse's badass ex-wife, and I must once again mention Jonathan Cherry's performance, an over the top delight on screen delight!
My one and only criticism with the film is that it's finale feels a little rushed. Though thrilling, I feel that it could've benefited from longer sequences of antagonist versus protagonist confrontations. This would've assisted in giving the climax a bit more weight. Honestly, I would've been perfectly fine with 15 to 20 more minutes added to the runtime!
For the most part, I've begun to avoid post-apocalyptic films, but as a lover of both WolfCop and Another WolfCop, I trusted that Lowell Dean would once again deliver an immensely enjoyable experience and I'm very happy to say that he knocks it out of the park! It's gritty, high-octane, apocalyptic action and I loved every second of it! SuperGrid is destined for cult classic status!
The film will open in Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary theaters this coming Friday, December 14th. SuperGrid will then be available on VOD in Canada starting December 18th.