All Superheroes Must Die (2011)
By: Devon B. on September 24, 2014 | Comments
Monster Pictures | Region B | 2.35:1, 1080p | English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 | 78 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Jason Trost
Starring: James Remar, Lucas Till, Jason Trost, Sophie Merkley
Screenplay: Jason Trost
Country: USA
Superhero movies have gotten a lot more expensive than they used to be. There were some more costly productions like Superman and Superman IV, but there was a lot of cheap, tacky crap. One brave, or foolish, man decided to try and bring the cheap back to the superhero genre, but took some intriguing steps to leave tacky behind.

All Superheroes Must Die starts with a group of heroes awakening in a seemingly deserted town. The group quickly learn that their arch-nemesis Rickshaw (Dexter's dad James Remar) has stripped them of their powers and set up a game where up to 100 innocent people will die if the heroes lose. Tensions run high amongst the group, but one hero strangely still has his powers so he naturally remains the most level headed in the situation. This helps stabilise the team while the debilitated heroes struggle to cope without their powers. The team keep playing, but as they play on it becomes clear this is a game they aren't meant to win.

Writer/director/star Jason Trost says in the extras that this movie had a budget of about $20,000, also known as half of Danny DeVito's catering budget on Batman Returns. When a filmmaker has that little money at their disposal I'm inclined to be much more forgiving, but thankfully there isn't a whole lot that needs to be forgiven in All Superheroes Must Die. The costumes aren't awe inspiring, and there are a few befuddling ideas presented in the script, but I can easily overlook these flaws due to the low budget. Normally I wouldn't be inclined to forgive a script issue because of budget constraints, but the way the funding came through Trost didn't have a lot of prep time. Then on top of that a lack of funds required the removal of several of the script's pages while shooting, so it makes sense that a few faults made it into the story.

Despite a lack of time and money, the movie is well put together. There are a few moments where things don't quite hang together or look right, but these are rare occurrences, and overall the movie is a cohesive, competently helmed effort. There's a bleakness to this movie that really sets it apart from most cinema, let alone other films within the superhero genre. The depowered situation, while not an entirely new concept, allows for some fresh and fascinating looks at superhero psychology that I haven't seen in other heroic tales. The heroes' solutions to portions of the game are certainly unique and unflinching, further separating this team from the likes of the characters found in the mainstream superhero genre.

This has gotta be the first superhero movie that owes as much to Saw as it does to Misfits. All Superheroes Must Die may be the world's first superhero psychological thriller, and the fact that Trost was able to make a film this good with so little financial backing is a testament to his abilities.
The Disc
The film takes place almost entirely in dark locations, so there is some crush. The production also didn't always have the best lighting set ups, which doesn't help how the image looks. That's clearly an issue with the film itself, not the transfer, and otherwise the movie looks sharp and clean. The audio track isn't going to compete with Iron Man's, but it does have some nice action moments like a roaring flame thrower. As with the image there are some flaws with the source, but the audio track is generally fine for a low budget movie like this. The Blu-ray comes with two optional intros, the trailer, a Q & A and Trost's first four Blood Beasts episodes. The first intro is by Trost and he quickly outlines some details of the movie's production and (take note of this, Marvel) his disinterest in origin stories. He's also wearing an eye patch, so either he's a pirate or there is something up with his eye, which explains why his character never bothers to rip the remains of his tattered mask off his face in the movie. I wouldn't normally consider someone's eye worth mentioning, but the first time I watched the movie I did wonder why the guy bothered to keep his mask on in the state it was in. The second intro is a Cultastrophe one. Cultastrophe is an awesome program run at Cinema Nova in Melbourne, and this intro is designed to recreate the feel of attending one of its screenings by showcasing trailers for Agroman the Fantastic Superman and Inframan, as well as a snack bar ad. The Q & A runs for about 12 minutes and Trost says he's got an idea for a sequel and that the budget restrictions ultimately really helped the film. The Blood Beasts episodes are tongue-in-cheek action shorts where Trost battles, appropriately enough, some blood beasts. All combined they run about 30 minutes. There is a brief exchange that is subtitled in one episode where the subs are cut off by the edge of the screen. The Blu-ray also has a reversible slick with goofy comic book art on the inverse side.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
I really enjoyed All Superheroes Must Die and hope the suggested sequel does eventuate. Monster have licensed extras for this release that weren't included in other territories so this is one where Australian fans can by locally without missing out on stuff, and in fact get more than the losers outside The Lucky Country.
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